The two sides are meeting for the third time in the competition. In the 2010 group stage, Al Ittihad surrendered a 2-0 half-time lead to settle for a 2-2 draw in Jeddah, while Zob Ahan walked away 1-0 winner at Foolad Shahr Stadium, the-afc.com reported.
Despite a poor domestic season where it finished tenth in the league, Al Ittihad has shown strong form in the 2019 AFC Champions League group stage, with its sole group-stage defeat coming on Matchday Two at Al Wahda. Romarinho leads the Saudi side’s scoring charts with three goals in the group stage.
Two-time continental champion, Al Ittihad has never been eliminated at the Round of 16 stage, and coach Jose Luis Sierra hopes to continue the club’s tradition of competing in the latter stages and has strengthened his squad with the signings of Palestinian-Chilean playmaker Luis Antonio Jimenez and Argentinian central midfielder Emiliano Vecchio.
With both Persepolis and Esteghlal eliminated at the group stage, Zobahan is Iran’s sole remaining representative in the competition, and it earned its spot in the last 16 in style, going unbeaten in the group stage to top Group A with 12 points.
The Isfahan-based side has reached the knockout stage on four occasions, getting eliminated in the Round of 16 twice, including last year. Its best result was reaching the final in 2010, which it lost to Korea Republic’s Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma.
Coach Alireza Mansourian’s side has happy memories in Zabeel Stadium, where it beat Al Wasl 3-1 on Matchday Three of the group stage.
Amir-Arsalan Motahari netted the second on that night, one of his three goals in the competition so far. Al Ittihad last played in this ground in September 2018, drawing with Al Wasl 0-0 in the Arab Clubs Championship.