Perspolis secure AFC Champions League place (Video)
Perspolis scripted a fighting 3-1 comeback victory against Al Shabab in Group D and booked their rightful place in the knockout stages of the Asian Champions League here on Tuesday.
Iranian giants Piroozi sealed their passage into the last 16 of the AFC Champions League after coming from a goal down to beat Al Shabab Al Arabi of the United Arab Emirates 3-1 on Tuesday.
Essa Mohammad gave the home side a surprise lead in the eighth minute and they hung on to their advantage until Eamon Zayed pulled a goal back two minutes before half-time.
Mehrdad Pooladi then fired the visitors ahead in the 54th minute before substitute Hossein Badamaki sealed the win with their third goal in stoppage time.
Despite their victory, Piroozi still finished second in Group D behind Saudi side Al Hilal, who beat Al Gharafa 2-1 in a later match to finish a point ahead of the Iranian outfit. As a result, Piroozi will have to travel to Jeddah to face another Saudi club, Group B winners Al Ittihad, in the Round of 16 next week.
Al Shabab had managed only two points from their first five games but they took an early lead at the Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium as Essa Mohammad fired a free-kick past goalkeeper Asmir Avdukic into the top corner of the Piroozi net.
The Iranian side pressed for an equaliser and they were finally rewarded in the 43rdminute. Ali Karimi sent in a teasing cross from the right which found Zayed, who headed past goalkeeper Ismail Rabee for his fifth goal of the competition.
The visitors continued to hold the upper hand after the break and they extended their advantage nine minutes into the second half when Mehrdad Pooladi's powerful free-kick went in off the right post.
The Tehran side nearly extended their lead four minutes later as a shot by Zayed from the edge of the area came back off the the crossbar.
But a third goal would arrive in stoppage time as Badamaki made a strong run into the Al Shabab box, going past defender Hassan Safar and Sami Anbar before firing into the right corner of the net.
|AL HILAL (KSA)||6||3||3||0||10||7||3||12|
|PIROOZI ATHLETIC (IRN)||6||3||2||1||14||5||9||11|
|AL GHARAFA (QAT)||6||1||3||2||7||10||-3||6|
|AL SHABAB AL ARABI (UAE)||6||0||2||4||5||14||-9||2|