Branko Ivankovic plays down ‘favorites’ tag in Iran’s Hazfi Cup

Branko Ivankovic

Tehran Times - Persepolis coach Branko Ivankovic has played down his team favorites’ tag in Iran’s Hazfi Cup.

The Reds will host Padideh on Monday in Tehran’s Azadi Stadium in the quarter-finals round.

The winners of the match will face Sepahan in Isfahan.

“We are not favorites to win the title not because we don’t want to win the match. Hazfi Cup is different with the league and it’s so unpredictable,” Ivankovic said in the pre-match news conference.

“Iran’s first division team Damash have advanced to the final match by beating league team Saipa and it shows that you should not take nothing for granted in Hazfi Cup. There is tough task ahead because we need to beat powerhouse teams Padideh and Sepahan to reach the final match,” the Croat added.

“Persepolis are going to win the title and will do our best. However, we feel the pressure because of league’s time table. I don’t want to criticizes the organizers but I think the schedule has gone against us. Persepolis have cooperated with the Iran Football League Organization. When our players were called up for national duty we met Paykan in the league and Sepidrood in Hazfi Cup,” Ivankovic concluded.

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Hazfi Cup is the Iranian football knockout cup competition, run by the Iranian Football Federation.  

The competition was founded in 1975 and Esteghlal are the most successful club with seven titles.

Persepolis have claimed the title five time.

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