Perse­po­lis ey­ing heroic ACL come­back at Azadi Sta­dium

Iran Daily - - Sports -

One last push

Perse­po­lis cap­tain Seyyed Jalal Ho­seini is­sued a ral­ly­ing cry to the Perse­po­lis fans ahead of to­day’s game.

The Reds will be tar­get­ing a third come­back in this year’s knock­out stage, af­ter they over­turned deficits against Al Jazira of the UAE and Qatar’s Al-duhail ear­lier in the com­pe­ti­tion, re­ported.

Both those re­cov­er­ies took place in front of a ca­pac­ity crowd at the Azadi Sta­dium, and Ho­seini is call­ing on one last push from the faith­ful at one of Asia’s most fa­mous are­nas to­day.

“They are so im­por­tant. They have al­ways been be­side us, es­pe­cially this year when we have been in some dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tions,” he said.

“They have acted like our strong arm in dif­fer­ent matches and have never left our side. We have reached the fi­nal with their sup­port but we wasted one match.

“How­ever, there are still 90 min­utes left. And this is the fi­nal mo­ment for them. I want to ask them to be just like the play­ers and not waste any en­ergy be­fore kick­off. We, the play­ers and fans both, have to start to­gether with full en­ergy. I ask them not to waste any en­ergy be­cause we need it dur­ing the match.” A goal from Kashima would leave Perse­po­lis need­ing four in re­turn, and the 36-year-old knows keep­ing a steady bal­ance be­tween de­fense and at­tack will be key.

“The most im­por­tant thing is not to con­cede any goals. And at the same time we have to score – we have to do two dif­fi­cult things at the same time. But we have our fans be­side us and we have to be in­cred­i­bly mo­ti­vated.

“By work­ing hard and main­tain­ing an un­der­stand­ing of the sit­u­a­tion we have to play very well from the first minute.”

“I can only prom­ise that I will try to do the best I can. We can do big things to­gether. But it is a very tough match for both teams, es­pe­cially for us, as we need to score two goals and keep a clean sheet to make the match level.

“It is a very hard job and it re­quires lots of en­ergy. I hope our fans in­ject this en­ergy into us so we can start the match very strongly from the be­gin­ning.” Stephen Curry has counted on stay­ing healthy af­ter in­juries lim­ited him to 51 games last sea­son. Ev­ery­thing was go­ing ac­cord­ing to plan for the Golden State star – un­til Thurs­day night.

The two-time MVP left with a leg in­jury and the War­riors were un­able to re­cover in a 134-111 loss to the Mil­wau­kee Bucks that snapped their eightgame win­ning streak, The As­so­ci­ated Press re­ported.

Eric Bled­soe scored seven straight points dur­ing Mil­wau­kee’s big third quar­ter and fin­ished with 26. Gian­nis An­te­tok­oun­mpo added 24 points, nine re­bounds and four as­sists as the Bucks handed the War­riors their first de­feat at home this sea­son.

The two-time de­fend­ing NBA cham­pi­ons were al­ready miss­ing All-star Dray­mond Green and then lost Curry mid­way through the third. Curry strained the ad­duc­tor mus­cle in his left leg and went to the locker room shortly there­after. He did not re­turn.

Klay Thomp­son led the War­riors with 24 points and Kevin Du­rant had 17 points, nine as­sists and seven re­bounds.

Curry scored 10 points in his sec­ond straight game below 20 af­ter get­ting at least 23 in every game pre­vi­ously – in­clud­ing five 30-point per­for­mances and a 51-point out­ing in three quar­ters. He dished out six as­sists in 26 min­utes.

War­riors coach Steve Kerr said his play­ers took the floor with “mind­less in­tent” and then hurt them­selves with foul trou­ble.

“Some­times you’ve got to get hit in the mouth in this league to re­mind you

how hard it is to win a game,” he said.

Mal­colm Brog­don scored 20 points and Khris Mid­dle­ton had 17 points and six as­sists as Mil­wau­kee (9-2) won for the sec­ond straight time at Or­a­cle Arena af­ter a 116-107 vic­tory on March 29.

“To come in here and play the de­fend­ing champs and have a win like this, it’s huge,” Brog­don said. “It’s huge for our con­fi­dence. I think it sends a mes­sage around the league, but re­gard­less we have to con­tinue to play hard every night and play on both ends.”

An­te­tok­oun­mpo had 19 points, seven re­bounds, three as­sists, a steal and a block by half­time as the Bucks led 6451 at the break.

Golden State (10-2) is still tied for the sec­ond-best start in fran­chise his­tory be­hind the 2015-16 team that be­gan 24-0. The War­riors dropped to 6-1 at home.

“They just played hun­grier than us,” Thomp­son said. “It was just an ugly night at the of­fice.”


NOAH GRA­HAM/GETTY IM­AGES Gian­nis An­te­tok­oun­mpo (R) of the Bucks goes up for the bas­ket against the War­riors in an NBA game in Or­a­cle Arena in Oak­land, CA, the US, on Novem­ber 8, 2018.

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