AFC Champions League
- Bashar Resan connects fruitful seasons with Persepolis
- He hopes to erase the disillusionment of the 2018 AFC Champions League
- Iraqi milieu explains his club’s recipe for success
When he arrived in Tehran in the summer of 2017, Iraqi international midfielder Bashar Resan probably never imagined he would play two AFC Champions League finals with Persepolis within three years. .
The first, played at the end of 2018, ended in disillusionment, with a 2-0 loss in both matches against the Japanese Kashima Antlers. Fortunately, Resan and his teammates quickly turned their disappointment into a source of motivation to string together nationwide success. The 23-year-old has won three consecutive Iranian championships, before leading his club to the final of the 2020 Champions League. This Saturday, the big Iranian club will fight for the title with the South Koreans of Ulsan in Al Janoub Stadium in Doha, the capital of Qatar.
In an exclusive interview with FIFA.com, Resan explains how Persepolis has become a club that counts in IR Iran and in Asia, like its three national titles and its remarkable consistency at the continental level. The player underlines in passing the fundamental contribution of the former coach of the club, Branko Ivankovic.
“We have to salute the work of Branko, who has instilled a champion mentality in this team. We do not have the greatest individual talents and we have lost key players in recent years, but that has never affected The performance of the team. Once again this year, the coach has launched five new players in the Champions League, which says a lot about the strength of our squad, “said Resan.
Erase the loss of 2018
After the defeat in the final of the 2018 Champions League and elimination from the group stage in the following edition, the 2020 Persepolis campaign seemed set to end prematurely after the suspension of the competition for almost seven months in due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “We had a difficult campaign. It was not easy to reach the final, especially since we had a bad start, taking just one point from our first two games,” said the midfielder.
“Things got better when it was decided to play all knockout matches in Qatar [en raison de la pandémie]. We managed to switch to a positive dynamic, even though we found ourselves facing very large teams from West Asia. It was also very difficult to play every three days, but now we are more than one match for the title of Asian champions, “he said.
The last hurdle
Resan and his teammates will have a hard time facing Ulsan, the only undefeated club in a continental campaign that saw them eliminate the favorites from the Eastern Region, the Japanese from Vissel Kobe, in the semi-finals. “Ulsan are a very good team, very difficult to play. We watched their game against Vissel, which came close to victory but wasted a lot of chances. In the end, Ulsan managed to win.”
“Like all East Asian teams, Ulsan has fast, powerful and disciplined players. This club certainly does not end up in the final by chance. This final is going to be difficult because everything is going to be played over 90 minutes. The victory will come down to them. team that will make the fewest mistakes. “
In addition to being crowned Asian champion, the winner will represent Asia at the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020 ™. A prospect that will only add to Persepolis’ determination, according to Resan.
“Qualifying for the Club World Cup is an additional source of motivation for both teams and in particular for us. It would give us the opportunity to face great teams, like Bayern Munich, and international stars, this that our supporters dream of, “projects the Iraqi, who will celebrate his 24th birthday just three days before the final of the Champions League.
“The fact that Qatar is organizing the Club World Cup and then the World Cup in 2022 is something special for me, because I have played in quite a few stadiums which will host matches in the competition. was exceptional and I found the stadiums fantastic. I hope to still have the opportunity to play with the national team in two years, “he concluded.
But before dreaming of participating in Qatar 2022 under the colors of Iraq, Resan hopes to realize a shorter-term dream: that of taking Persepolis to the top of Asian club football.