The 12-time Uzbek champions reached the competition’s final four in the first two editions of the AFC Champions League in 2003 and 2004, but have since been unable to match this achievement; their best result being a quarter-final appearance in 2009.
Pakhtakor’s return to the quarter-finals saw them top Group B of the 2020 AFC Champions League with an unbeaten record and only one goal conceded following the annulment of Al Hilal SFC’s results.
At the heart of their strong defensive record is the centre-back pairing of club captain Egor Krimets (pictured below) and fellow Uzbekistan international veteran Anzur Ismailov.
“The quarter-final is a very important match, we do not know when will our next chance to be in this stage again come, so this is our chance,” said Krimets who has been at the club since 2011.
“We know Persepolis are good in set-pieces, so it is important to be cautious with them. Our aim is not to give them such chances to score goals, so we will try not to commit many fouls near our penalty box.
“Ismailov and I played in the national team together for so long and he joined us at Pakhtakor this year, so our understanding is important, especially in such a difficult game.
"But against Persepolis, we are not only being tested in our defensive solidity, but also in team character, how we can play in attack and build up against such a strong team.”