Al Duhail go down fighting to Persepolis


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Qatar’s Al Duhail went down fighting to Iran’s Persepolis 1-3 as the latter reached the AFC Champions League semifinals for the second year in a row after coming from a goal behind at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran on Monday.

Persepolis sealed a 3-2 aggregate win.

Al Duhail took the lead in the 33rd minute after Persepolis defender Shojae Khalilzadeh’s attempted clearance of Murad Naji’s free-kick bounced off Karim Boudiaf and into the back of the net to give the visitors a crucial away goal.

Bashar Resan nearly equalised for the hosts in the 56th minute after snatching the ball from Al Duhail defenders and advancing on goal, but his effort from the edge of the box was tipped behind by goalkeeper Amine Lecomte.

The resulting corner kick brought Persepolis their first goal of the quarter-finals after the cross skimmed the heads of strikers Godwin Mensha and Ali Alipour before ending up at the feet of skipper Seyed Jalal Hossein, who converted on the half-volley to bring his side back from the dead in the 57th minute.

The crowd erupted as Persepolis took the lead for the first time in the tie 15 minutes from time. Alipour broke free on the left leaving his marker Naji chasing shadows before squaring into the six yard box. Struggling under Resan’s pressure, Sultan Al Brake tried a last-ditch clearance. but instead sent the ball into his own net.

With the momentum now on their side, Persepolis did not wait long to add a third. Mensha latched onto a long ball from Alireza and outmuscled two Al Duhail defenders before rounding the goalkeeper and applying a simple finish into the empty net to settle the tie.