Japan's Kashima Antlers travel to Iran's Persepolis in the second leg of the final of the AFC Champions League on Saturday, looking to consolidate on their first leg win. "I know that Kashima have more chance of winning the title but we have already secured big comebacks against Al Duhail and Al Jazaira", the Croat said.
The semi-official news agency Tasnim said an unspecified number of women had entered Azadi Stadium to watch Persepolis seek to overturn a 2-0 first-leg deficit against Japan's Kashima Antlers and claim their first continental crown.
"The AFC is determined to build on this momentum to ensure our competitions continue to provide the ideal stage for the Continent's undeniable talent to shine and to excite our passionate fans".
Gianni Infantino, the president of the worldwide soccer federation FIFA, who was at the game, said 1,000 women were allowed to attend, calling it "a real breakthrough".
The ban on women in stadiums has been frequently criticised from across the political spectrum.More news: Trump slams France's wine industry, accusing it of unfair trade practices
The ISNA news agency said fans around the stadium cheered as the women entered the stands set aside for them, which an official said had a capacity of 850 seats.
Most were said to be relatives of players or members of women's teams.
Reformist newspaper Shargh reported that about 500 female fans were kept outside the stadium gates.
Open Stadiums have been campaigning for access to venues for women in Iran and representatives of the organisation met with Federation Internationale de Football Association general secretary Fatma Samoura this week to hand over a petition signed by more than 200,000 people.
After the revolution nearly 40 years ago, women were allowed to attend a football match in Iran for the first time in November 2001 when around 20 Irish women were among the crowd for an Iran-Ireland World Cup qualifier.More news: Williams' jumper helps Clippers edge Bucks 128-120 in OT | AP sports
After that match, women were rarely allowed to watch men's football in stadiums and in very limited numbers. Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution women have not been allowed to watch men's soccer matches in stadiums, though they have occasionally been allowed to watch volleyball and basketball in stadiums.
The following day, Iran's prosecutor general warned there would be no repeat of women watching football inside stadiums, saying it would "lead to sin".
Another header from Alipour missed the target as Kashima eased to a thoroughly deserved aggregate victory, becoming the third Japanese side to win the trophy after Urawa Red Diamonds and Gamba Osaka.
Persepolis coach Branko Ivankovic sent on Mohsen Rabiekhah and Ehsan Alvanzadeh in a desperate attempt to break the deadlock but to no avail.More news: Markelle Fultz parts with trainer; two are no longer on speaking terms