AFC - Islamic Republic of Iran's Persepolis created history at a jam-packed Azadi Stadium by reaching the AFC Champions League final for the first time in their history, after playing to a 1-1 draw with Al Sadd of Qatar in the second leg of their semi-final clash on Tuesday.
The result gave Persepolis a 2-1 aggregate win and a place in the Continental showpiece, where they will face either Suwon Samsung Bluewings or Kashima Antlers.
Trailing by a goal from the first leg, it was Al Sadd who had greater impetus to score, fashioning an opportunity in the third minute.
However, Abdelkarim Hassan's shot at goal flew straight into the hands of Persepolis goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand.
The momentum soon swung the other way and the hosts threatened at the Al Sadd box. In the 14th minute, Godwin Mensha headed across the goalmouth after Ahmad Nourollahi's corner but Ali Mosleh was unable to connect.
Then, three minutes later, Al Sadd broke the deadlock and levelled the aggregate score. The Persepolis defence were flustered by a loose pass across them, and tournament top scorer Baghdad Bounedjah (pictured below) finished off a first time shot with aplomb past the outstretched arms of Beiranvand.
Persepolis responded with more urgency but were denied any clear-cut scoring opportunities thereafter. It took until the 39th minute for one to materialise, but Godwin Mensha's shot was saved by Meshaal Aissa.
The script of the game changed dramatically right after half-time break, when Persepolis scored.
In the 49th minute, Siamak Nemati (pictured below, left) volleyed in Mensha's cross from the left to make it 1-1 and put his side back in front on aggregate.
Al Sadd struggled to make inroads after Nemati's strike, having to resort to desperate attempts. In one such instance, Pedro Miguel had a go at goal from over 35 yards out but the ball bounced wide off Beiranvand's post.
In the 64th minute, Aissa's point-blank save from Alipour denied Persepolis of what could have been a deciding goal.
Beiranvand showed his quality and kept his side in the front seat with a composed performance, which included a stunning reflex save to keep out Xavi's header in the 86th minute.
As the clock ticked on, Al Sadd pushed forward with all their strength but it was Persepolis who held on to clinch a famous result in front of their home fans.
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