The Persian football team clinched the quarter-finals for the first time in their history.
Monday evening’s clash of the AFC Champions League playoffs witnessed Foolad of Iran defeating Al-Faisaly FC of Saudi Arabia 1-0, altering football history for the West Asian country.
Playing in Qatar’s Al Thumama Stadium, the Iranians dominated as they collected 54% possession against the Saudi club.
Forward Sasan Ansari secured his team’s win against a less formidable Saudi side as the Arabians struggled to make a shot on target.
Scoring the match’s only goal for Foolad in the 64th minute, Ansari answered the call from his coach Javad Nekounam, who was confident ahead of the game.
“We have worked hard in terms of preparation as it is very important for us to produce our best. We know it will be a very difficult game, but we are focused on our performance,” said Nekounam concerning the Al-Faisaly FC match.
Foolad currently stands in ninth place in the table of the Iran Professional League. Earlier this month, the squad defeated Persepolis, one of the most decorated teams in the country, at the Iran Super Cup.
Al-Hilal dominates Shabab Al-Ahli
In the Round of 16s, the most prominent club in Asia towered over Shabab Al-Ahli, taking the squad down 3-1 in Al Janoub Stadium.
Starting off the opening scoring was veteran striker Odion Ighalo, who crossed over a defender to send in a left-foot fleeting shot in the 17th minute of the match.
Easing past the defense, Al-Hilal maintained most of the game’s possession and attacks as 15 shots lifted off the pitch, landing seven on target.
With a lone goal in the first half, Jang Hyun-soo and Luciano Vietto secured the team’s victory for Al-Hilal minutes apart from one another.
In the 73rd minute, the South Korean footballer headed in a shot from a free-kick, with the Argentine footballer pulling a goal in the 79th minute.
Leaving only minutes left for the match, Shabab Al-Ahli managed to secure a goal of their own despite the strong lead from the Saudi side.
Syrian striker Omar Khribin known for his comeback shots, nailed a goal in the 86th minute, leaving the team with a minuscule measure on the scoreboard.