Breaking: ACL Group E: Persepolis seal top spot
TEHRAN – Persepolis of Iran football team secured top spot in Group E of the 2021 AFC Champions League on Thursday with a 4-2 win over Al Rayyan of Qatar.
Yahya Golmohammadi’s side bounced back from their loss against Al Wahda and ensured their passage to the Round of 16 at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa.
Shahriyar Moghanlou opened the scoring in the 27th minute having earlier hit the crossbar with a header before Ehsan Pahlavan doubled the Iranian side’s advantage seven minutes later. But two goals from Yohan Boli kept Al Rayyan in contention in the second 45 minutes and Persepolis needed further efforts from Hossein Kanaani and Isa Alkasir to confirm their fifth victory in six games in the group phase.
The Iran club had been dominant throughout the opening quarter of the game, with Moghanloo heading Vahid Amiri’s inviting cross against the woodwork having seen an earlier free-kick pushed to safety by Al Rayyan goalkeeper Fahad Younis.
Al Rayyan, however, rallied early in the second half when Boli netted from eight yards out after Persepolis goalkeeper Hamed Lak was only able to parry Ali Farydoon’s long-range attempt three minutes after the restart.
By the 68th minute the Iranians had restored their advantage. The Al Rayyan defense only partially cleared a corner, allowing Torabi to send over a curling center towards the far post that Hossein Kanaani headed past Younis.
Boli struck again 18 minutes from time when Yacine Brahimi’s initial shot was blocked by the Persepolis defense, but the Iranians claimed their fourth less than a minute later when Issa Alekasir netted from seven yards out, finally sealing the win that guaranteed his team top spot in Group E.