Persepolis overtake Al Sadd to finish top

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Persepolis have finished top of Group C in the AFC Champions League after claiming a 1-0 win over Al Sadd on Monday.

Both teams entered the clash at the Azadi Stadium with their places in the knockout round already secured, although – with a two-point lead – Al Sadd only needed to avoid defeat to secure top spot.

However, it was the Iranian hosts who got off to a dream start after three minutes when Al Sadd centre-back Morteza Pouraliganji did his compatriots a favour, sending a diving header into his own goal after botching an attempt to intercept Mohammad Ansari’s left-wing cross.

Despite the Qatari outfit’s best efforts to pull level, Persepolis were ultimately able to hold out to claim maximum points to finish first in the group, and will now meet Group A’s runners-up in the Round of 16.

In Monday’s dead rubber, FC Nasaf piled on misery on Al Wasl as they came from behind to win 2-1 at the Zabeel Stadium.

It initially looked as though Al Wasl were finally going to pick up their first points of the campaign following five straight defeats, when Fabio Lima swept home Khalil Kamis’ low cross to put them ahead.

But right before halftime, Sharof Mukhiddinov equalised for the Uzbek visitors before Bobir Abdixolikov scored what proved to be the winner three minutes after the restart.