Saturday, 13, July, 2024

Last year’s semi-finalists Persepolis of Iran sealed their place at the 2018 AFC Champions League Knockout Stage with a 0-0 draw against Uzbekistan’s FC Nasaf on Monday.

Nasaf dominated possession throughout the opening half but could not make a single shot on target for the entire 45 minutes as Persepolis defended resolutely in the face of frequent attacks.

The hosts’ most dangerous chance of the first half came in the 18th minute when Azizjon Ganiev’s cross from the right flank nearly tricked Persepolis goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand, but the Iranian international tipped it behind before defender Jalal Hosseini cleared the danger.

After the break, Persepolis stepped up their game as Siamak Nemati attempted to take Farshad Ahmadzadeh’s cross, but his half-volleyed effort sailed high above the Uzbek goal five minutes after the restart.

Nasaf boss Ruziqol Berdiev introduced striker Dragan Ceran at the hour-mark, and the Serbian’s first contribution was to set up Bobir Abdixolikov for an overhead kick that went just wide off Alireza Beiranvand.

Vahid Amiri set up substitute Ahmed Nourollahi at the edge of the penalty box and the midfielder’s strike from an angle was tipped over by Sanjar Kuvvatov to keep the score level at the final whistle.

The result confirms Persepolis and Al Sadd as the two qualifiers from Group C as Nasaf join Al Wasl in elimination.

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