Persepolis won't hold back, vows Ivankovic

Persepolis Kashima

AFC - Persepolis will play as they always do - to win - in Saturday's 2018 AFC Champions League final first leg at the Kashima Soccer Stadium.

With the second leg to be played in Tehran's Azadi Stadium - where Persepolis have been unbeatable in the AFC Champions League this season - the Islamic Republic of Iran giants may be forgiven if they opt for a safe approach on Saturday but head coach Branko Ivankovic said it would be business as usual.

"We play very well away too. Our vision is to keep our way (style of play) as much as possible in the first leg," said Ivankovic.

"This is the final and two of the best teams are playing this game. We are very proud and satisfied and it is a big pleasure to be in the final."

Hosseini Kashima

Just like opponents Kashima Antlers, Persepolis are appearing in their first AFC Champions League final and Ivankovic said his team is looking forward to the match.

"We hope we will enjoy this game, we hope we make our fans happy with this game. We want to win the title and we have worked hard to be ready for the final."

Much time, said Ivankovic, has been spent analysing Kashima.

"We know Kashima very well. We may not have played them before but we know them. We know their strengths, that they are very good in set-piece situations with their tall players but we will have our plans."

Kashima coach Go Oiwa admitted his side is targeting a big win, given Persepolis' strength when playing at home and Ivankovic agreed that their fans give them an extra edge, as seen in the Round of 16 and quarter-finals when the Iranian side overcame first leg defeats to advance.

Ivankovic Kashima

"Our fans always push us to give 100 percent and I expect the same in the return leg but we have to think of the first leg first.

"As I said, we will play as we normally do and we have shown that we can solve problems during a game. We will know how to check Kashima."

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