Iran’s Persian Gulf Pro League professional soccer club Persepolis has been left to rue squandered chances after a goalless draw with Al Rayyan of Qatar in the group stage of the 2017 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League.
On Monday, the Iranian soccer players entered the Group D match at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium needing a win to keep their hopes alive following the 1-3 defeat against the Qatari club at the multi-purpose Jassim bin Hamad Stadium, Doha, on March 14.
The hosts started the first half of the game aggressively, and Persepolis 21-year-old striker Ali Alipour received a yellow card from Japanese referee Ryuji Sato in the 4th minute for committing a foul on Al Rayyan goalkeeper Oumar Barry.
Al Rayyan’s first scoring opportunity came in the 11th minute, when Sebastian Soria sent the ball deep into Persepolis defensive line, where teammate Rodrigo Tabata was. Iranian goalie Alireza Beiranvand, however, made a save.
Persepolis’ first chance to take the lead emerged in the 23rd minute as striker Mehdi Taremi picked up a pass from fellow midfielder Soroush Rafiei. Taremi did not deliver a powerful shot though.
Alipour, meanwhile, had a fine opportunity to put Persepolis ahead with less than a quarter on the clock; but was unable to aim his effort at goal.
Taremi spoiled the game’s best opportunity in the 42nd minute. He lofted a chipped penalty over the bar following a foul by Al Rayyan defender Mosaab Kheder.
Al Rayyan opened the second half with strong offensive rebound, and went close to breaking the deadlock, but lacked the cutting edge.
With just 10 minutes on the clock, another scoring opportunity came on Alipour’s way. But he failed to trouble and his header went over the bar.
In the dying moments of the fixture, Soria rattled the post deep into the injury time.
At the end, neither side was able to claim all three points.
Separately, Qatari Lekhwiya defeated Iranian football club Esteghlal Melli-Sanati Khuzestan Football Club, commonly known as Esteghlal Khuzestan, 2-1 in a Group B match at Doha’s Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium.
Lekhwiya moved to top of the group with eight points from four games, one more than Esteghlal Khuzestan and three ahead of Saudi Arabia’s Al Fateh.