Persepolis gears up to wreck Bunyodkor ACL dream

TEHRAN, May 26 (MNA) -- Persepolis football club is to clash with Uzbekistan’s Bunyodkor in the Asian Champions League round of 16 to book a berth in the next stage.

 Group B winner Persepolis, one of Asia’s best-supported clubs, plans to beat Bunyodkor at the legendary 100,000-capacity Azadi Stadium on Wednesday to advance to ACL quarter-final round.
 
Ali Karimi, the ‘Asian Maradona’ who spent two seasons with Bayern Munich, captained the Tehran-based club in last week’s crucial 1-0 home win over Al Shabab that ensured they topped Group B ahead of their rivals and secured a home tie.
 
Karimi took over the armband from former national team captain Karim Bagheri, who will not be available for this match.
 
“I’m not interested in how big or small a player’s name is. I’m only interested in players who make an effort and carry out my instructions. I always make my choices based on these criteria, not on pressure from supporters,” said Persepolis coach Nelo Vingada.
 
“I congratulate the players for winning the match and getting to the top of the the group. They fought well and gave us the prize of staying at home in the next round against Bunyodkor,” the former Portugal, Saudi Arabia and Jordan coach added.
 
Brazilian legend Rivaldo, the 1999 FIFA World Player of the Year, wore the captain’s armband for Bunyodkor through the group stage. After reaching the semi-finals last year, the Tashkent club progressed to this year’s knockout stage following last week’s scoreless draw against UAE’s Al Shabab Al Arabi, according to ESPNstar.
 
Bunyodkor feature an array of Uzbek stars, including Server Djeparov, the 2008 AFC Player of the Year. Other internationals include fellow midfielders Jasur Hasanov, Timur Kapadze and Victor Kapadze, striker Anvar Soliev, and defenders Hayrulla Karimov, Sakhob Jurayev and Anvar Gafurov.

MH/MRK
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MNA

News Code 33970

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