0657 GMT December 16, 2018
The 2018 ACL has reached the midway point of the group stage and the 16 teams in the West Zone will immediately renew acquaintances with each other as Matchday Four sees the reverse fixtures of the Matchday Three encounters, the-afc.com reported.
Groups B and D are first up when they play their fourth games of the campaign on Monday, before Groups A and C return on action on Tuesday, after which the fate of some of the sides may have been decided.
After claiming a 3-2 victory over Lokomotiv on Matchday Three, Al Duhail will confirm its passage to the ACL knockout rounds if it defeats the Uzbek champion in Tashkent on Monday.
Lokomotiv has lost two on the bounce on the road but is a different proposition at home, where it defeated Al Wahda 5-0 in their opening game of the competition.
It’s do or die for Al Wahda, which, after losing 2-0 to its host Zob Ahan Esfahan in what was its third successive defeat, must beat the Iranian side to have any realistic hope of qualifying for the last 16.
This comes as the Iranian team’s win over Al Wahda propelled it three points clear in second place and a third successive positive result would see it dreaming of a spot in the next round.
Lokomotiv (UZB) vs. Al Duhail (QAT)
Venue: Lokomotiv Stadium, Tashkent
Kickoff: March 12, 17:00 UTC+5
Al Wahda (UAE) vs. Zobahan (IRN)
Venue: Zayed Sports City Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Kickoff: March 12, 19:00 UTC+4
Esteghlal will take to the Azadi Stadium pitch for the first time in Group D when it hosts Al Ain on Monday after the sides played out a gripping 2-2 draw last week.
The Iranian team is two points clear at the top of the standings and is the only side to have won a game in the group, while Al Ain sits two points back, having drawn three from three.
Al Rayyan’s 1-1 draw with Al Hilal in Saudi Arabia meant it has also drawn all three of its matches, but a home victory in the reverse fixture would leave the Qatari side in a strong position with two games left to play.
Last year’s runner-up Al Hilal is currently at the foot of the table after two draws and one loss, but a win over Al Rayyan would mean a 10th successive knockout stage berth would be well within the Saudi side’s sights.
Al Rayyan (QAT) vs. Al Hilal (KSA)
Venue: Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, Doha
Kickoff: March 12, 18:15 UTC+3
Esteghlal (IRN) vs. Al Ain (UAE)
Venue: Azadi Stadium, Tehran
Kickoff: March 12, 19:00 UTC+3:30
Al Ahli will all but secure its place in the last 16 with a home win over Al Gharafa in Group A on Tuesday when the sides face off once more after their 1-1 draw last week.
Al Gharafa left it late to level against the Saudi side on Matchday Three and the Qatari team would leapfrog Al Ahli if it could claim victory in Jeddah as the group moves toward the business end.
Elsewhere, Tractorsazi Tabriz gained its first point of the campaign after a scoreless draw with Al Jazira in the UAE, and now returns home to the Islamic Republic of Iran targeting a first win when it takes on the same opposition.
Having won its opening game of the tournament, Al Jazira has now picked up just one point from two matches and will be looking for a reversal of fortunes when it visits Tabriz.
Tractorsazi Tabriz (IRN) vs. Al Jazira (UAE)
Venue: Yadegar-e Emam Stadium, Tabriz
Kickoff: March 13, 16:00 UTC+3:30
Al Ahli (KSA) vs. Al Gharafa (QAT)
Venue: King Abdullah Sports City, Jeddah
Kickoff: March 13, 20:15 UTC+4
Three teams sit on six points apiece in Group C ahead of a crucial Matchday Four that sees Al Sadd host Nasaf and Persepolis travel to Al Wasl.
Nasaf secured an impressive 1-0 victory over Al Sadd last week as the Uzbek side moved level on points with the Qatari club ahead of the return meeting in Doha on Tuesday.
Persepolis had few problems in overcoming the group’s bottom side Al Wasl 2-0 in Tehran and will now look for back-to-back wins against the Emirati side with two tough fixtures still to come.
The Iranian team and 2017 semifinalist currently tops the standings on goal difference from Al Sadd and Nasaf, while Al Wasl remains in search of its first point of the campaign.
Al Sadd (QAT) vs. Nasaf (UZB)
Venue: Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, Doha
Kickoff: March 13, 18:15 UTC+3
Al Wasl (UAE) vs. Persepolis (IRN)
Venue: Zabeel Stadium, Dubai
Kickoff: March 13, 19:15 UTC+4