1139 GMT April 07, 2020
Zob Ahan Esfahan qualified for the tournament by wining the title in Iran’s annual knockout cup competition, also dubbed ‘Hazfi Cup’ in 2016, the-afc.com reported.
The club was founded in 1969. Its fixture this season of the AFC Champions League will be held at Foolad Shahr Stadium in Isfahan which has a capacity of 15,000 spectators.
The team finished runner-up in the Iranian league in 2005, 2009 and 2010. It has also lifted Hazfi Cup trophy in 2003, 2009, 2015 and 2016.
Although Zob Ahan Esfahan has failed to capture any championships in the AFC Champions League, it has managed to finish runner-up in the tournament in 2010, reach its round of 16 in 2016 and qualify for quarterfinals in 2011.
In 2004, the team was sent packing in group stage.
Zob Ahan Esfahan retained the Hazfi Cup with a penalty shootout victory over Esteghlal after a 1-1 draw in May’s final to ensure a return to the AFC Champions League for a second successive year.
In 2016, the Isfahan-based club won four and drew two of its six Group Stage games to advance to the knockout phase ahead of Lekhwiya, Al Nassr and Bunyodkor. The Iranian side exited in the round of 16, though, as eventual runner-up Al Ain ran out 3-1 aggregate winner. Zob Ahan Esfahan’s best ever performance came in 2010 when it finished runner-up to Korea Republic’s Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma, while it also reached the quarterfinals a year later.
Now in his fourth year with the club, forward Morteza Tabrizi has established himself as an integral part of the Iranian side, finishing as its top scorer in the 2015/16 domestic season. Mehdi Rajabzadeh, the team’s 38-year-old captain, who boasts more than 250 appearances over three spells with the club, continues to supply goals and netted twice in last season’s AFC Champions League. Goalkeeper Mohammad-Rashid Mazaheri kept five clean sheets in the 2016 Group Stage as Zob Ahan Esfahan stormed into the round of 16. The talented custodian made his national team debut last year.
Coach: Mojtaba Hosseini
After spending the majority of his playing days with Zob Ahan Esfahan, Mojtaba Hosseini returned as assistant coach in 2014 following more than a decade away. Hosseini assumed the head coach role in October last year and will now aim to successfully navigate a path to the round of 16 for the second year in a row.