Persepolis' coach Branko Ivankovic gestures during the first leg of their AFC Champions League semi-final football match at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Sept 26, 2017. (GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP)
TEHRAN - Iran's Persepolis coach Branko Ivankovic said Monday that the first match in the 2018 AFC Champions League can be the most difficult match.
Nasf are a well-organized team and are among the country's top four but Persepolis are also ready to meet them
Persepolis soccer team will host Uzbekistan's Nasaf Qarshi in Group C of the 2018 AFC Champions League in Tehran's Azadi Stadium on Tuesday.
"Playing in the AFC Champions League is a great honor for me and I am very happy we play in front of our fans at home this year. I expect our fans to be our 12th man on Tuesday," Ivankovic said in the pre-match news conference.
"Experience has proved to me that the first match always is the hardest match. We respect Nasaf and know that the Uzbek team have won four matches out of their five matches," the Croat added.
Nasf are a well-organized team and are among the country's top four but Persepolis are also ready to meet them, he said.
"For us is very important to begin the campaign with a win but we're not taking anything for granted. We were qualified for the ACL semis last year and it's normal we are going to repeat our success in the current season," Ivankovic added.