News ID: 251760
Published: 0201 GMT April 22, 2019

Zob Ahan out to secure ACL knockout place

Zob Ahan out to secure ACL knockout place
the-afc.com

Iran’s Zob Ahan FC can book a spot in the 2019 AFC Champions League round of 16 with a win against the UAE’s Al Wasl at the Foolad Shahr Stadium on Tuesday.

Zob Ahan is yet to lose a game in Group A, and a third consecutive win could take its tally to ten points, the-afc.com reported.

Should Al Zawraa defeat Al Nassr in the other Matchday Four fixture, the ten points will be enough for the Iranians to officially progress to the knockout stage.

Coach Alireza Mansourian’s men had come from behind to seal a 3-1 win at the Zabeel Stadium in the reverse fixture two weeks ago.

Their Tuesday opponent, Al Wasl, had started the campaign brightly with a win over Al Nassr, but then fell to a 5-0 humbling at the hands of Al Zawraa in Karbala and to Zob Ahan in Dubai.

Despite finishing third in the UAE Pro League last season, Al Wasl found itself struggling to avoid relegation this season and now sits in tenth place, just nine points afloat of the drop zone.

 

Seeking double

 

In Group C, Esteghlal will be seeking a second consecutive victory over Saudi Arabia’s giant Al Hilal to enhance its chances of booking a place in the knockout phase.

Two-time runner-up Al Hilal has reached the knockout stages nine times in the past 10 years, but it was eliminated in the group stage last year.

Coach Zoran Mamic’s men fell to a 2-1 defeat to Esteghlal in Doha two weeks ago, after starting its continental campaign with back-to-back victories over Al Ain and Al Duhail. Meanwhile, Esteghlal’s win came after an opening-day 3-0 reversal at Al Duhail and a 1-1 home draw with Al Ain.

Al Hilal’s chances will be boosted by the return of star midfielder Abdullah Otayf after a two-month injury layout.

Domestically, Esteghlal has won its last two matches to climb up to second in the Persian Gulf Pro League table, five points behind archrival Persepolis. Al Hilal similarly finds itself second in the Saudi Pro League, although just a point behind its own city rival Al Nassr.

 

   
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