October 1 – Iranian giants Persepolis will face a rejuvenated Al Nassr from Saudi Arabia in the semi-finals of the Western Zone of the Asian Champions League.
Grouped in Qatar for the group and knockout stages, the AFC’s blue riband club competition will play the west zone semi-final on Saturday.
Persepolis moved past Uzbekistan’s Pakhtakor with two goals from Iraqi midfielder Bashar Resan. It will be Persepolis’ third semi-final in four years and if they win at the weekend will qualify them for the second final in two years.
“We have great defensive strength and this helped us reach the semi-final. It is not easy for our opponents to score against us,” Resan told the AFC’s website.
“In the six matches that we have played in Qatar, we only conceded one goal and it was from a penalty. This shows that our system has worked well.”
It was a system helped by the sending off of Pakhtakor’s Jaloliddin Masharipov in the 15th minute.
Persepolis face Riyadh giants Al Nassr who despite their domestic strength have never figured in the final four of the competition before.
Al Nassr won their all-Saudi battle against Al Ahli Saudi 2-0 with goals from Gonzalo ‘Pity’ Martinez and Abdulfattah Asiri.
While slow to get going in this competition, Martinez looks to be coming into form at the right time in an exciting attacking side that is growing with every game. Al Nassr’s Moroccan striker Abderazzak Hamdallah was the focus of attention pre-match and whether he could extend his scoring streak to 10 consecutive games. He couldn’t but will want to start again on Saturday’s big stage.
The other half of the Champions League draw in the AFC’s eastern zone is scheduled for November with the semi-final to be played December 13. The venues have yet to be confirmed though also look likely to have some form of centralisation of the group and knock-out stages.
The final will be played December 19 in Qatar.
Contact the writer of this story at email@example.com