0546 GMT January 22, 2018
Iran’s Persepolis failed to overcome a first-leg 4-0 defeat at the 2017 AFC Champions League semifinals against Al Hilal as the Persian Gulf Pro League champion was held to a 2-2 draw by the Saudi side in Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat, Oman.
On Tuesday, Godwin Mensha gave Iranian Reds a lifeline with 16 minutes into the game after the Nigerian striker’s header converted Vahid Amiri’s cross into the back of the net.
However, Persepolis’s slightest hopes of a famous comeback were shattered 14 minutes later after Al Hilal was awarded with a controversial penalty.
Al Hilal’s Mohammed al-Burayk was brought down on the edge of the 18-yard-box by Mohammad Ansari which convinced the Omani referee to point to the spot.
Syrian striker Omar Khribin calmly chipped the ball past Alireza Beiranvand to put his side on the driving seat toward the final showdown.
Mensha added his second of the evening in the 62nd minute after he beat defender Abdullah al-Hafith to Ali Alipour’s backpass and fired into the bottom corner.
Persepolis improved in possession and kept knocking for the third goal but Al Hilal’s five-man-backline stood firm to deny Iranians getting back in the tie.
Yet another Khribin strike on the counterattack with 14 minutes left on the clock summed up a frustrating semifinal for Persepolis while a 6-2 aggregate victory sent Saudi side to the final for the second time in four years.