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AFC Champions League 2017: Player of round two - Persepolis FC's Mehdi Taremi

04:01 SAST 2017/03/05
Persepolis's players pose prior to the AFC Champions League qualifying football match between UAE's Al-Wahda and Iran's Persepolis
The Iranian striker's stellar performance against Al Wahda makes him our pick of the week....

The second round of fixtures in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League 2017 group stages saw goals aplenty and several dramatic results to go with it. 

Naturally, there were several top notch individual performances in the round like Hulk came up with against Western Sydney Wanderers or like Alex Teixeira against Adelaide United.  

But one performance which stands out among these suspects is that of Persepolis striker Mehdi Taremi who notched two goals and an assist in a virtuoso performance which earned his side a dramatic 3-2 victory against Al Wahda. Which is why the Iranian striker is our Toyota player of the round. 

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The 6’ 1” tall striker, once dubbed the Iranian Ibrahimovic by scouts and fans, has been a devoted servant for Persepolis since 2014 and has a healthy scoring record for them. He would go on to endear himself greatly to the Persepolis faithful with a brilliant outing on Tuesday in Abu Dhabi. 

Taremi helped Persepolis open the scoring very early by getting to the byline and then finding the run of Vahid Amiri to the near post with a low cross and the latter’s touch was enough to send the ball into the goal. Al Wahda would then mount a fight back to take the lead in the match. 

But it would last only till the 81st minute when Taremi showcased his aerial ability by rising high to head home a chipped pass from the byline. Not satisfied with notching just the equaliser, the 24-year-old would go on to highlight his poacher’s instinct at the death. He anticipated an innovative freekick from Soroush Rafiei and poked a finish home in the 90th minute to win a sensational three points for the visitors. 

Taremi’s impact on the game was vital and timely, helping Persepolis go joint top of Group D. Apart from the two goals and an assist, he had 42 touches on the ball as he played his part in building attacks. His willingness to apply himself in this regard saw him create the opening goal, showing the presence of mind to pick out a teammate after doing the hard work and getting to a promising position. 

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A total of 21 completed passes with an accuracy of 76 per cent also highlighted this impressive facet of his performance on the night. Moreover, his shooting was also impressive - claiming two goals from a total of four shots attempted, three of which were on target. 

Being a tall striker, he helped out during set pieces as well registering two clearances and a block. 

In what transpired to be a match where Persepolis were literally pushed to the extreme before they managed to ride on Taremi’s inspiratonal performance to their way to three points, every single contribution counted and Taremi had plenty to offer in all areas of the pitch. And that is why he is our pick for the best performance of the round.