Beating Al Nassr of Saudi Arabia on penalties, Iran's Persepolis football club was crowned as West Asia's soccer champion at Jassim bin Hamad Stadium on Saturday in Doha, Qatar.
Al Nassr and Persepolis were tied 1-1 after 120 minutes of a breathtaking match before the Iranian team's victory in Doha paved the way for them to reach the final of the 2020 AFC Champions League.
Persepolis, known as the Red Jerseys, will face the East Asian champions in the final match on December 19.
The Red Jerseys' victory was unexpected since some soccer superstars, including Ali Alipour and Mehdi Torabi, had left Persepolis on the eve of the championship.
Persepolis had also lost their current superstar, Issa Alekasir, just three hours before the crucial match on Saturday.
The 30-year-old forward, who had scored four times in the last three games in the competition, received the ban after making an allegedly offensive gesture to television cameras after scoring against Uzbekistan's Pakhtakor in the quarterfinals on Sept. 30.
"The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Disciplinary and Ethics Committee has banned Issa Alekasir, of Persepolis FC, from taking part in any kind of football-related activity for six months for violating Article 58.1 of the AFC Disciplinary and Ethics Code [2019 Edition]," the AFC said in a statement. "The ban will take effect immediately."
Alekasir, whose goal also took Persepolis through the round of 16 with a 1-0 victory over Qatar's Al Sadd, was also fined $10,000.
Throughout his career, Alekasir has performed a goal celebration where he stretches the outsides of his eyes in a gesture interpreted by some to be a racist "squint-eyed" gesture.
However, he has repeatedly been cleared of any "malicious intention" when making the gesture in domestic matches. Alekasir had made it clear that he makes the gesture as a tribute to his underage nephew.
Persepolis FC submitted its official objection to the ruling issued by the Asian Football Confederation by submitting documents.
The match between Persepolis and Al-Nassr was judged by Mohammad Taqi of Singapore and held in
Jassim bin Hamad Stadium in Doha in the absence of spectators.
In the 36th minute, Al Nassr's Abdul Razzaq Hamdollah scored the first goal of the match from the penalty spot with a chip shot.
Persepolis needed just six minutes to equalize after Vahid Amiri dispossessed left-back Awad Khamis deep in Al Nassr's half and fed Bashar Resan. For his part, Resan whipped in a cross for Qara, who guided his header past goalkeeper Brad Jones to make it 1-1 in the 42nd minute.
Persepolis was reduced to ten men in the final minute of an otherwise quiet first half of extra time as midfielder Ehsan Pahlavan received his second yellow card of the night following a challenge on Al Nassr substitute Abdulrahman Al Dossari.
As the score remained 1-1 after the extra time, Al Nassr and Persepolis prepared for a penalty shootout, which ended 3-5 in favor of Iran's Red Jerseys.
Iran's last crowning in the tournament was on January 22, 1993, when the Tehran's Pas FC defeated Al-Shabab of Saudi Arabia 1–0, becoming Asian champions, in Manama, Bahrain. Fourteen years later, Pas was dissolved and never returned.