Al Rayyan lose to Iran’s Persepolis in second round of AFC Champions League


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Qatar’s Al Rayyan lost 1-3 to Iran’s Persepolis in a Group E second-round match of the 2021 AFC Champions League at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa, India, on Saturday.

Persepolis put up a strong display in the second half as they added to their 1-0 first-round victory over the UAE’s Al Wahda, while Al Rayyan were left in search of their first victory, having been held goalless by FC Goa on Matchday One.

Persepolis raced off the blocks and wasted no time in asserting themselves, coming close to opening the scoring after just three minutes when Vahid Amiri raced down the left flank and relayed the ball to Shahriyar Moghanlou, who found himself in a one-on-one situation with Al Rayyan goalkeeper Fahad Younis, but the forward was flagged offside.

The Iran Pro League champions continued to press with their free-flowing passing, but Al Rayyan were up to task with their sound defending.

However, Persepolis were in deficit against the run of play in the 19th minute when Naif Al Hadhrami rose highest to head home Abdulaziz Hatem’s free-kick into the bottom right of the net.

An undaunted Persepolis pushed for the equaliser, but the Al Rayyan goalkeeper was on top of his game, first saving Mahdi Torabi’s effort from inside the area on 24 minutes and then denying Moghanlou’s drive in the 39th minute.

Fahad showed his class just before half-time when he tipped Seyed Jalal Hosseini’s powerful header over the bar while, at the other end, Yacine Brahimi’s drive from inside the area was saved by Persepolis goalkeeper Hamed Lak.

Persepolis started the second half with heightened intensity and their determination paid off two minutes into the restart when Kamal Kamyabinia headed home the equaliser off Torabi’s corner.

Al Rayyan found themselves 1-2 down two minutes later as Siamak Nemati weaved his way down the right flank before finding Moghanlou, who volleyed past Fahad.

Moghanlou scored his second in the 57th minute, finding space inside the six-yard box to collect Omid Alishah’s pass before slamming the ball into an unguarded goalmouth.

Persepolis will face FC Goa, while Al Rayyan play Al Wahda on Tuesday.