0410 GMT March 19, 2018
Persepolis manager Branko Ivankovic said his experience tells him nine points would be enough to qualify from the AFC Champions League group-stages after his team sealed a 1-0 away victory over the UAE’s Al Wasl on Tuesday.
Holding midfielder Kamal Kamyabinia’s header on Hossein Mahini’s free-kick broke the deadlock eight minutes before the interval at Dubai’s Zabeel Stadium which proved to be enough for the Reds to claim a massive away victory.
“It was tough game and we had to make the best out of our opportunities, which we did,” the Croatian said in the post-match press conference.
“The result is a fitting New Year’s present for our fans,” Ivankovic added as the Iranians are approaching Norouz.
“Al Wasl is among the best teams in the UAE but injuries, suspensions and bad luck have cost them in this year’s competition. I watched them play against Al Sadd and I don’t think they deserved to lose that game,” Reds manager said on Tuesday night’s opponent.
When asked about his team’s chances to qualify to the knockout stage of the competition, the 64-year-old said, “We are yet to seal our qualification but my experience at the Asian games tells me that a team with nine points would probably finish in the top two of the group.”
The victory in Dubai leaves Persepolis in the second place of Group C, level on points with group-leader Al Sadd – which thrashed Uzbekistan’s Nasaf 4-0 at home.
Persepolis will play away at Nasaf on Matchday Five (April 2) and a draw will secure the Iranians a last-16 spot before a final-day showdown against Xavi’s Al Sadd at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium.