Tehran Times - Persepolis coach Branko Ivankovic labeled remaining two matches against Uzbekistan’s Pakhtakor and Al Sadd of Qatar as must-win games.
Persepolis lost to Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli 2-1 in Group D of the AFC Champions League on Monday at the Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the UAE.
The result left Persepolis at the bottom of the table with just four points.
Al Sadd top the group with seven points. Al Ahli are second with six points and Pakhtakor slipped down to third place with five points.
“I am so sorry after we failed to win the match because we were the better team but lost the match. Persepolis defeated Al Ahli 2-0 in their previous match but we showed a better football in our second match, however we failed to win,” Ivankovic said in the post-match news conference.
“I cannot criticize my players because they played well. This is football and you cannot talk about that. My players are very exhausted because of our busy fixture and also it is very hot here,” the Croat added.
“We will travel to Tashkent to face Pakhtakor in Matchday Five and must defeat them. We must also beat Al Sadd in our home. We can do it. I am sure our players will recover mentally and physically very soon,” Ivancovic said.
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