News ID: 238718
Published: 0311 GMT February 11, 2019

Iran’s Saipa, Zob Ahan seeking group spots in ACL preliminary stage

Iran’s Saipa, Zob Ahan seeking group spots in ACL preliminary stage

The second preliminary round of qualifying for the 2019 AFC Champions League bursts into life on Tuesday when a total eight teams from the West and East Zones will book their place in the competition’s playoff phase.

Two Iranian sides will be in action on Tuesday as Ali Daei’s Saipa hosts Indian champion Minerva Punjab at Tehran’s Shahr-e Qods Stadium, with the Isfahan-based club Zob Ahan playing against Kuwait SC at Foolad Shahr Stadium in Isfahan, reported.


Saipa (IRN) vs. Minerva Punjab (IND)


After finishing fourth in the Iran Pro League standings, Saipa returns to the continent’s premier club competition for only a second time. Its previous appearance came in 2008 when it reached the quarterfinals before being beaten over two legs by FC Bunyodkor from Uzbekistan.

Minerva Punjab famously claimed last season’s I-League title after only two years of football in India’s top-flight. The club, which is based in the city of Chandigarh, will be making its AFC Champions League debut.


Zob Ahan FC (IRN) vs. Kuwait SC (KUW)


AFC Champions League runner-up in 2010, Zob Ahan is featuring in the competition for an eighth time after finishing as runner-up in the Iranian league. Since its appearance in the final, Zob Ahan’s best performances to date came in 2016 and then again last year when it reached the Round of 16.

Last week’s impressive 3-2 win at Jordan’s Al Wehdat saw Kuwait SC advance to set up a meeting with Zob Ahan. The Kuwaitis are appearing in the competition for a sixth time, with the club’s best performances to date having been group-stage finishes in 2005, 2007 and 2008.


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