Mon 13 September 2021 | 12:17

Persepolis’ Golmohammadi: ‘FC Istiklol will be a tough challenge’

Ahead of their Tuesday’s 2021 AFC Champions League Round of 16 clash with FC Istiklol of Tajikistan, Persepolis FC head coach Yahya Golmohammadi is in no doubt his side is in for a serious test despite their more experience in the competition.


, who were runners-up in two of the last three editions of the competition, 

will be at away end of an excited Dushanbe public

 that will welcome ACL knockout stage football for the first time in their history.

The Persian Gulf Pro League champions will face

 FC Istiklol

, who emerged as the fairy-tale story of this year’s ACL group stage, pulling off a series of shock wins in their tournament debut in April.


“We know what a critical stage we are in,”

 said the 50-year-old to his pre-game press conference.

“We have to play against a young and hard-working team. We played well and worked hard to reach this stage, and we do not want to leave this stage easily. We will definitely go onto the pitch and fight to play well.

“I think the experience of our players is our trump card, and it can help us a lot. We have a good team, and we are full of faith and belief in our players.”


After two years of the pandemic

, the Tajik side will aim to make the most of their home advantage as Istiklol and Persepolis played on neutral turf in Saudi Arabia and India in the group stage of the tournament.

“I would like to thank the people of Tajikistan and Istiklol for their reception,”

 Golmohammadi said. 

“There are many cultural similarities between the two countries. When we are here, we do not feel that we are in a foreign country, and there has long been a cultural closeness between us.”


source: AFC

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