Persepolis eye Champions League after Iran impress at World Cup
Iran drew plaudits for their performances at the World Cup, and one of their biggest clubs, Persepolis, are looking to end the nation's AFC Champions League drought.
In one of the toughest groups in Russia, Iran pushed the likes of Spain and Portugal before narrowly finishing third.
Continentally, an Iranian club last won the title – then the Asian Club Championship – in 1993, when PAS Tehran tasted success.
But league champions Persepolis, led by former Iran coach Branko Ivankovic, are into the quarter-finals, facing Al-Duhail in the last eight. Esteghlal are also through and meet Al-Sadd.
Ivankovic is wary of his team's Qatari opponents, but hopes Persepolis can move into the semi-finals.
"Our opponents have shown that they might even be the best team in the whole of Asia so far so the game will not be easy," he told Omnisport.
"In spite all of this, we are still going for the victory."
— AFC Champions League (@TheAFCCL) June 21, 2018
Ivankovic has led Persepolis to back-to-back Persian Gulf Pro League titles, as well as the 2017 Iranian Super Cup.
The 64-year-old former Croatia assistant said a variety of factors had led to his team's consistent success.
"This is the third year already that we have been on top of the league which is hard to do because one of the hardest things is to achieve continuity, maintain this level of focus and concentration," Ivankovic said.
"The key to success is mainly hard work. There is no success without hard and persistent work.
"Other main thing is selection of players which is done based on quality, knowledge, eagerness, mentality and character."