In Group C, Esteghlal plays Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal in Doha, hoping to claim its first victory at this year’s competition and stay in contention for a place in the Round of 16.
Esteghlal has not been in good form under coach Winfried Schäfer this season as the Tehran Blues dropped to fourth in the Persian Gulf Pro League table last Friday and are bottom of their group with just one point, the-afc.com reported.
The two giants of Asian football have met on five occasions in the competition, with Esteghlal winning three times, and Al Hilal winning on two occasions. Their most recent encounter last year ended with a 1-0 Iranian victory in Kuwait City.
The Saudi team is one of just two sides which has collected two victories in the competition, alongside Korea Republic’s Daegu FC.
Coach Zoran Mamic’s men are eyeing a first continental title, having reached the final in 2014 and 2017. They started in a perfect manner, defeating Al Ain 1-0 and Al Duhail 3-1.
Meanwhile, in Group A, the UAE’s Al Wasl will aim to get back to winning ways when it welcomes Iran’s Zob Ahan to Zabeel Stadium.
The home side, managed by 2014 AFC Champions League finalist Laurentiu Reghecampf, started its campaign brightly, with a 1-0 win over Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr, but relapsed with a 5-0 defeat to Al Zawraa in Iraq.
Zob Ahan on the other side is one point and one place better off than its Monday’s opponent. An added time goal handed the Iranians a 3-2 win against Al Nassr in Matchday Two after they had been held to a goalless draw by Al Zawraa in their opening match.
In two previous encounters against Iranian clubs at Zabeel Stadium, Al Wasl has not won. In 2008, the Emirati side drew 1-1 with Saipa, while last year it was beaten 1-0 by eventual finalist Persepolis.
Zob Ahan, on the other side has had mixed results when visiting the UAE. it was beaten twice by Al Wahda in 2010 and 2018, drew Al Ain twice in 2016 and 2017 and defeated Emirates Club in 2011.