AFC Champions League — Persepolis 1 Al Sadd 0


Qatar’s Al Sadd went down fighting 0-1 to Iran’s Persepolis in their AFC Champions League Group C match in Tehran on Monday.

The hosts thus advanced to the knockout stage as the group winners.

Persepolis needed less than three minutes to go up when Mohammed Ansari whipped in a tricky cross from the left and Al Sadd defender Morteza Mohammed, himself a former Persepolis player, inadvertently headed past his own goalkeeper Saad Al Dossari.

Needing just a draw to finish on top of the group, Al Sadd pushed forward in search of the equaliser, but they were not particularly effective, with only Xavi and Baghdad Bounedjah coming close to scoring in the opening half.

The visitors looked more dangerous in the second half and Boualem Khoukhi thought he had levelled the scores when he finished off Bounedjah’s cross in the 62nd minute. However, the effort was ruled offside.

Persepolis looked comfortable defending their narrow lead and goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand had very little to do for most of the game, until a nervy final 10 minutes when Al Sadd almost broke the home crowd’s hearts.

First, Bounedjah rattled the crossbar from close range with a stinging strike in the 87th. Then, just seconds later, Akram Afif registered what was surprisingly Al Sadd’s first shot on target, but Beiranvand was on hand to palm the ball away.

Persepolis finished their engagements with 13 points, one ahead of Al Sadd who also went through as runners-up.