Revenge of the Saudi{jcomments off}

Perspolis news agency : Perspolis beat Al Ittihad 3-2 to end the Saudi Arabian team’s unbeaten record in the 2011 AFC Champions League and boost their own flagging hopes of place in the knockout stages.


Hamidreza Aliasgari stuck in the 14th minute before a second goal from Shpejtim Arifi two minutes later was cancelled out by Mohammed Al Rashed’s firm header in the first-half.


Aliasgari extended Perspolis’s lead in the 69th minute before the visitors pulled one back through a stoppage-time own goal from Sekou Berthe.




Perspolis came close to taking the lead after four minutes through Arifi. The striker latched onto a cross from the right but could not force the ball home.

Aliasgari then gave Perspolis a deserved lead in the 14th minute.

Nuno Assis tackled the ball backwards into his side’s penalty box and Aliasgari pounced on it to fire home even though Mabrouk Zaid got his fingers to the ball.

It took only two minutes for Arifi to extend the lead.

Aliasgari was the provider this time as he collected a long pass from Maziar Zare and flicked it to the unmarked Arifi to make it 2-0.

The Saudi Arabian side pulled a goal back after 19 minutes as Al Rashed met Paulo Jorge’s free-kick from the right, powering home a header to halve the deficit.

Arifi could have eased the pressure with a third just before the half-hour mark as Zaid punched Mohammad Nori’s corner from the left straight into his path, but he fired wide.

Nori then missed a chance of his own in first-half stoppage time as Perspolis pressed for a third.

The game became cagier after the restart with chances at a premium.

When an opportunity did come, Hossein Badamaki fired a left-footed effort wide of the post, and Mojtaba Shiri headed off target soon after.

Perspolis grabbed a third in the 69th minute. Hadi Norouzi crossed low into the penalty area and after neither Arifi nor Assis could get a touch, the lively Aliasgari beat the Al Ittihad keeper to score.

An own goal from Perspolis defender Berthe in added time was not enough for the visitors to prevent Perspolis from taking all three points.

Assis curled a dangerous free-kick across the box and Berthe inadvertently headed into his own net.


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