Persepolis fell behind on the night but never trailed in the tie as they found a late equaliser to put them ahead on aggregate and into the Champions League final.
Persepolid 1-1 Al Sadd (2-1 aggregate): match report
Al Sadd were knocked out of the Asian Champions League on Tuesday night after Persepolis, who led 1-0 from the first leg, rescued a draw in the second half, which was enough to see them through on aggregate.
The game was played at the jam-packed Azadi Stadium in Tehran. And it was Al Sadd, with LaLiga legends, Xavi and Gabi, in their ranks, who started the game on the front foot.
They might have even been over-ambitious in their approach as Persepolis sat and let them attack before pouncing on the break. Al Sadd didn't want to spend the game behind their opponents and it wouldn't be long before they had their reward.
A lovely ball into the box from the right off Al Haidos landed at the right-foot of Bounedjah and he curled one low beyond the outstretched arms of Beiranvand. The tie was level and Persepolis no longer had an advantage.
They were the better side in attack even if Al Sadd did dominate possession. Mensha up front for the eventual winners was a constant threat and he was hurrying defenders and prowling behind them every time the ball entered the final third.
It was his cross into the box on 49 minutes that turned the tie back in their favour. It fell to Nemati as he volleyed past the keeper.
Al Sadd had chances near the end even if their possession statistics would suggest they should have had more. Xavi went closest with a header on 87 minutes that was saved by Persepolis' shotstopper and Bounedjah saw an awkward backheel put behind as they tried and failed to get another goal.
It's Persepolis who go through to the final of the Champions League with Suwon Bluewings vs Kashima Antlers playing their second leg of the other semi on Wednesday to see who will meet Branko Ivankovic's side in the decider.
Persepolis vs Al Sadd online: live commentary
90'+4' GAME OVER! Persepolis into the final.
90'+4' Nah. That is a terrible ball into the box. It's straight at Beiranvand. He gathers easily.
90'+4' One last chance for Al Sadd.
90'+3' Al Sadd drive forward. What a chance. Ball flicked in and, it looks like, it's headed on to Boundejah. It's cleared and he wanted a corner but he doesn't get it. That might surely do it now.
90'+2' Four minutes of added time and we are into the second here.
90'+2' Persepolis player down and Al Sadd want them to hurry up.
90'+2' Another chance. Ths time it's saved by the keeper although you wouldn't even call that a save normally. A cross that rolls to the keeper.
90' Another corner for Al Sadd. Xavi whips it in and the keeper punches it clear.
89' Al Sadd going out with a whimper here.
88' Al Sadd are really lucky not to concede a penalty now. Correia wraps his leg around the attacker and it's out for a goal kick. Al Sadd still battling the dying of the light.
87' Xavi with the header that time and it was saved by the keeper. Lord what a chance! What a save too. So, so close.
85' Xavi to take. Al Sadd player on the ground in the box as it's headed clear.
85' Really dangerous cross and Persepolis have to put it behind for a corner.
83' Nice run by Hassan down the left. Persepolis really good defensively and they win it back before it's put out for a goal kick.
82' Persepolis drive into the area. Nervy moments for Al Sadd but they manage to get it away.
80' Not bad. Xavi strikes from distance and while it's always drifting away from goal, at least it's something. Better than what they have been offering up.
79' Persepolis allowing Al Sadd to have the ball but not letting them do anything with it really. Frustrating night for Al Sadd.
77' Foul on Correia as Resan puts him under pressure.
74' A replay of that last play and Bounedjah was unlucky not to win a penalty. He was probably going down before the tackle came in but definitely contact from the defender.
74' A Haidos replaced by Alsenhaji.
74' Al Sadd break now. Persepolis remain stout though. boundejah with some trickery to get a yard on the left. Comes to nothing as Al Sadd attack the box though.
73' Mensha wins a free for Persepolis on the counter. He urges the crowd and his teammates on. He's been man of the match here.
73' Ball sent in and cleared by Persepolis. Just about as it lands at the back post waiting for someone to come and hit it.
73' There's a yellow and the firs of the game. It's for Kamyabinia, who puts a hand of Boundejah's chest as he runs by him. Obstruction and it breaks up a dangerous looking attack.
70' Almost a third. It's Nourollahi this time in a central role. He drives forward and snaps a shot towards goal. Technically, it's not actually nearly towards goal. It's well wide. Persepolis fans jumping up and down now in the stands. They're enjoying this as they push their side over the line. 20 minutes left though even if Al Sadd are withering.
70' Goalkick for Persepolis.
66' It's Persepolis who attack again and Mensha with the shot on the volley. Not bad at all but always going wide. Good connection.
65' Another dangerous ball into the box and Aissa punches clear. But not clear enough. It comes back in but Al Sadd get it away. Xavi wins it and spread it wide. Can they build what is becoming an incresingly rare attack. No is the answer to that.
64' Persepolis looking more likely here. Ball into the box from Mensha and Alipour see his shot saves. Golden chance. Corner though.
63' 61' Persepolis want a penalty. It's Nemati, the goalscorer, who makes his way inside from the right. He takes a touch and then gets clattered and goes down. But no penalty. Looked like he might have had a case but referee doesn't give it.
60' Long ball down to Alipour but he can't reach it. He does offer a thumbs up though. He liked the idea.
57' Getting very chippy now. Hassan slips and fouls a Persepolis player before being tackled by Kamyabinia and then he throws him to the ground. Referee has a lengthy chat to the Al Sadd player and tells him to calm down.
55' Al Sadd getting a little bit more expansive now. Still no way through for them.
52' Mensha runs into the box. He puts pressure on the defender and forces a throw. He's just hounding defenders now. A real livewire is Mensha.
50' Back to square one for Al Sadd. They need another one. Strike comes in from Afif but that's not beating the keeper.
48' PERSEPOLIS GOAL! A strike from 15 yards. Nemati makes contact with the cross. It's a volley - a tame one - and it bobbles past the keeper. Persepolis back in the lead.
46' Second half is underway! Will we have a winner in regular time? We are about to find out.
45'+1' Half-time and it's all square over the leg and a half that we have played. 1-0 to Al Sadd on the day but 1-1 after Persepolis' first leg victory.
45' Ends up as a corner and headed over.
45' Great save from Beiranvand. Ball over the top and into the path of Bounedjah but his shot is saved by an advancing Beiranvand.
44' Not a bad effort from Nemati. He shoots from outside the penalty box. Drifting wide as Aissa gets down to his right to see it off. Persepolis being forced to shoot from those areas recently.
43' Ball clipped forward and Ismaeil can't reach it before it goes out. Goal kick.
42' Cross whipped in from the right and Persepolis deal with it first time. Al Sadd recover and win a throw in their own half.
39' Mensha looks like Persepolis' best player so far in attack. He lets fly from distance with a right-footed effort. Never really troubling Aissa but he had to get down to save it.
37' Mosleh bulldozes his way down the left but he loses control of the ball and then fouls Ismaeil. Free to Al Sadd. Gabi takes.
36' Al Sadd slowly taking control of this one.
36' Persepolis make a move down the right but they're offside.
35' Xavi with a free from downtown but that's well over in the end.
31' That's the slickest move of the game by Al Sadd. They one-two their way into the box but Afif's touch is too heavy and it's out over the endline. Cut through Persepolis like a lukewarm knife slicing through butter. Not incredibly easy but they got there in the end.
30' Ball into the box and it's played to Mensha as he dribbles forward. Taken off his toe and Al Sadd survive. Nice move by Persepolis.
29' That's a goalkick for Persepolis. Hassan down the left and he just dribbles the ball over the line before diving! He gets up quite bashfully, knowing he wasn't fouled. Restart.
27' A clash as the back as Alipour bundles over a man on his way to the ball. Referee has a word with him. Fairly harmless really.
27' Ball inside from the left and Persepolis react quickest and clear.
25' The defender takes the goalkick. Not sure why as haven't seen Aissa down injured.
22' Al Sadd counter. But that's piked off by Persepolis.
22' This is as even a tie as you could imagine. No idea who will win it at this stage. Persepolis not attacking as often as Al Sadd but are more dangerous when they do.
21' Al Sadd push forward again down the right hand side but they're offside this time.
19' The whole complexion of this game changes now. Persepolis a little nervous to go back ahead. They need to be careful. They do have a chance, or a half-chance more like, but Al Sadd clear.
17' GOAL! Ball into the box and Bounedjah strikes with his right foot. Lovely finish but maybe the keeper might have done better. It was a tasty strike though so maybe not. 1-1 now on aggregate as Al Sadd take the lead on the night!
15' Persepolis piling on a bit of pressure now.
14' Nourallahi takes and it's Alipour, the danger man at the back post. He nearly gets on the end of a Mensha header at the front post.
13' Persepolis win another corner.
13' Through ball attempted by Correia but Persepolis win it back and Mensah ends up shooting. Well wide in the end but Persepolis' gameplan quite obvious. They'll use Al Sadd's desperation against them and hope to strike on the break. Al Sadd, with that being said, need to just relax and they'll find a way through.
12' Dangerous Persepolis counter now. Al Sadd do get men back though.
10' Al Sadd with room down the right now. It's Al Haidos who finds himself surrounded though and fouled. Free for Al Sadd.
10' Persepolis quite clearly the team in the lead here. They are in no hurry whatsoever. That might hurt them too though. Al Sadd livelier so far.
9' Al Sadd a little sloppy again in the middle. Hassan drives down the left and he wants a free as he throws his arms in the air. Ref doesn't seem to worried about his protests as play continues.
7' Al Sadd win it back now and have notions about moving forward. Persepolis not giving them any room though. Ball to Xavi and he can't control it, it's cleared and Al Sadd win it back.
6' Persepolis on the ball now. Dinked forwards by Nemati and Aissa gathers.
4' Ball thrown into the box and it almost makes its wat through a see of legs. Alipour with the shot but Al Sadd clear.
4' No Persepolis attack through Mensah and Al Sadd put it out for a throw. What a din in the stadium.
3' Save from Beiranvand as As Sadd put pressure on early on.
1' We are underway.
A few former players lining out for Al-Sadd today including Akram Afif, who played for Villarreal but spent his time on loan at Sporting Gijon. He played 11 times for them.
Al Sadd XI: Aissa, Khoukhi, Hassan, Ismaeil, Correia, Xavi, Woo-Young, Al Haydos, Gabi, Afif, Bounedjah.
Persopolis XI: Beiranvand, Nemati, Khalilzadeh, Hosseini, Mosleh, Nourollahi, Ansari, Kamyabinia, Resan, Mensha, Alipour.
Xavi has been making headlines again after he said his sides would never play like Mourinho. With a 1-0 deficit to overcome, he will be forced to invent plenty today with Al-Sadd.
The stadium that holds over 100,000 people is already full! The atmosphere here should be electric.
Persepolis hold a narrow lead going into today's game, Ali Alipour handing the Iranian side a 1-0 advantage from the spot in the 86th minute during the previous leg in Doha.
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the 2018 AFC Champions League semi-final second leg fixture between Persepolis and Al Sadd from the Azadi Stadium in Tehran. Kick-off is at 17:00 CEST.
Persepolis vs Al Sadd online: preview
Tehran's Azadi Stadium will host the second leg of the AFC Champions League semi-final between Iran's Persepolis and Al Sadd from Qatar. The Iranian side take a single goal lead from the first encounter in Doha earlier in the month but know it will be a tough ask to keep their opponents from scoring once again.
Croatian manager Branko Ivankovic put the club's adoring fans front and centre when he spoke in the pre-match press conference
"We want to make our fans happy because we play for them," he proclaimed, as well as predicting a "beautiful performance" from his side. He will be acutely aware, however, that in the first leg his players saw just a third of the ball, instead spending much of the game trying to affect and stifle what their Qatari rivals could do. Alireza Beiranvand could be in for a busy night as he protects the home goal, but qualification for their first final will ensure wild celebrations in Tehran.
Spanish stars Xavi and Gabi are the headline acts for the Qatari giants who can also boast eight of the national team players in their ranks. Another player to watch is Baghdad Bounedjah, the Algerian international who did the damage when these two sides met in the group stages. His brace helped his team to a 3-1 win in February and a similar scoreline will see them reach another final, the heights they've not seen since winning the competition in 2011.
Portuguese manager Jesualdo Ferreira was bullish ahead of this return fixture saying that his side "were the better team in the first leg" but knows that the performance needs to be matched with sufficient goals.