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Preview - Group E: Al Wahda determined to end Persepolis' dream AFC Champions League run


Goa: Al Wahda FSCC will be looking to end Persepolis' unbeaten run in the 2021 AFC Champions League when the two meet in Group E at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Monday. 

Islamic Republic of Iran's Persepolis - with 12 points in the bag - have all but qualified for the Round of 16 while victory for Al Wahda will keep them within sight of going through.

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Al Wahda suffered a 1-0 defeat when the two teams met on Matchday One and then were held 0-0 by India's FC Goa. The Abu Dhabi-based club, however, recovered nicely to edge Al Rayyan 3-2 before following up with a 1-0 win against the Qatar side in back-to-back ties.

“There's no pressure for us when we face Persepolis tomorrow,” said Al Wahda head coach Henk ten Cate. “We are second in the table and the only thing on our minds is winning.

“I think if we win one more game - looking at the other teams from the other groups - we will have a good chance of qualifying into the Round of 16 if we get more than three points in the next two matches."

“We will definitely surprise them (Persepolis) tomorrow and let’s see how that works out for us. In our previous match - if you look at the statistics - we were very close to them and could have at least collected a point.

“We will face a very tough opponent, they have won all their matches. We will give our best for a good result. (However), tomorrow’s match will not decide our fate in the competition.”

2021 AFC Champions League: Persepolis 1-0 Al Wahda

Persepolis followed up the Matchday One win over Al Wahda with triumphs over Al Rayyan (3-1) and FC Goa (2-1, 4-0).

The goals have been flowing for a Persepolis side who have been impressive throughout but head coach Yahya Golmohammadi's side will not underestimate Al Wahda.

“We will take the match against Al Wahda seriously. Each specific match has a different tactical approach and tomorrow is no different,” said assistant coach Salim Motahari.

“The only reason we have done well is because of the Persepolis fans. Even if the stadium is empty, their positive energy has made us believe and we would like to dedicate this success to each and every one of them.

“Some people were saying that we fielded a second team against FC Goa. That is not true. Every player is part of the first team and they have followed instructions to the key," said Motahari. “We will definitely aim to take three points tomorrow."


Al Wahda FSCC (UAE) v Persepolis FC (IRN)
Venue: Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Goa
Kick-off: Monday, 20:00 hours (UTC+5:30)

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