Fri, 22 Mar 2019

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Former Persepolis coach Afshin Ghotbi knows playing in Tehran's Azadi Stadium against Persepolis is very difficult for Kashima Antlers since the atmosphere of the stadium is electric.

Kashima Antlers defeated Persepolis 2-0 in the first leg of the AFC Champions League and the Japanese team will meet Persepolis on Saturday in Tehran's Azadi Stadium.

'As an Asian football player or a coach, playing in that stadium is a wonderful experience. It's really the Colosseum of football pitches in Asia,' Ghotbi said in an interview with

'The night before there will be people outside the stadium, and then from the morning of the game it will be absolutely full. The noise in that stadium is amazing,' he said.

However, he also feels the intense atmosphere could weigh heavily on the home side.

'It creates a challenge for the Persepolis coaching staff and the players, with regards to the amount of pressure and the stress they are under. At home they will feel the pressure to get the result for their fans.'

In terms of footballing approach, Ghotbi detects almost polar opposition in the Japanese and Iranian style.

'You're talking about such a clash of cultures. (With Japanese teams) you're talking about very organized, very conservative - a society that's so collective - and then when you look at Iranian football it's very creative, it's all about improvisation.

'It's about players that are products of street football, so they are able to individually create situations that are maybe advantageous.'

Ultimately, however, he feels the victor will be decided by whoever manages to best hold their nerve in the Azadi cauldron.

'I think in any final it's all about finishing your chances and who makes the least mistakes, so I think it will come down to that,' the former Persepolis coach concluded.

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