The Borneo Post (Sabah)

Hosseini gives Persepolis winning start in Asian Champions League

- - AFP

DOHA: Captain Seyed Hosseini scored the only goal as Iranian giants Persepolis edged the UAE’s Al Wahda 1-0 to make a sedate but victorious start to their Asian Champions League campaign on Wednesday.

The 39-year-old defender Hosseini found himself in great position to score from the edge of the box in the 40th minute.

Mehdi Torabi had placed the ball for him following an exchange of passes with Ehsan Pahlavan at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Margao, in the western Indian state of Goa.

Group E matches in Asia’s western zone are being played in Goa, while Groups A to D are being hosted in bio-secure bubbles in Sharjah, Jeddah and Riyadh due to the coronaviru­s pandemic.

Persepolis have been a force to be reckoned with in Asia over the past three years during which they finished runners up twice in 2018 when they lost to Japan’s Kashima Antlers and in 2020 when they were beaten by South Korea’s Ulsan Hyundai.

The Abu Dhabi based Al Wahda are making their 12th appearance in the competitio­n having skipped it last year due to several coronaviru­s cases among their squad.

The four-time UAE Pro League champions reached the semifinals of the event in 2007 but since then have got past the group stage only once, in 2019.

Al Wahda had their chances on Wednesday but it was Persepolis who dominated from the start, Shahriyar Moghanloo’s eighthminu­te header thudding into the crossbar.

Torabi could have put Persepolis 2-0 up 20 minutes after the break but his effort off a Moghanloo pass went wide before the defensive minded Iranians went on to seal the three points.

In Group B, Uzbekistan’s Pakhtakor bounced back from two goals down to clinch a thrilling 3-3 draw with Iran’s Tractor FC, with all six goals coming in the second half.

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