Persepolis suffered a 1-0 away defeat against Pakhtakor of Uzbekistan on Monday, meaning last year’s runner-up will play no part in the Round of 16 of the 2019 AFC Champions League.
Igor Sergeev’s left-footed shot was deflected off the Reds’ captain Seyyed Jalal Hosseini to find the back of the net with four minutes left on the clock.
The defeat left Branko Ivankovic’s men at the bottom of Group D with four points with one game to spare.
This is the second year running that the AFC Champions League losing finalist fails to reach the knockout stage in the following year.
Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal had reached the final in 2017, but exited at the first hurdle in 2018.
Zob Ahan on the verge
Iran’s Zob Ahan – currently on top of Group A – will only need to avoid a defeat against Iraq’s Al Zawraa to book a place in the knockout stage when the two sides square off at Karbala Sports City on Tuesday.
Zob Ahan has impressed so far this season, remaining unbeaten in four matches, the-afc.com reported.
The Isfahan-based side have ten points to its name, four points better off than second-placed Al Nassr.
Al Zawraa, meanwhile, looks to return to winning ways when it hosts the Isfahan-based side.
The Iraqi side suffered a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Al Nassr in its last outing and it finds itself third in the group, trailing the Saudi side by two points.
Hakeem Shaker’s men started the campaign brightly, earning a point on the road against Zob Ahan before recording a 5-0 victory against Al Wasl in Karbala.
Back-to-back defeats to Al Nassr left them reeling, but their hopes of progress remain alive with two games to go.