Al Ain, Esteghlal Aim to Conclude ACL Season on Positive Note
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Eliminated pair Al Ain and Esteghlal will aim to conclude their season on a positive note when they clash at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium on Matchday Six of the 2019 AFC Champions League Group C on Monday.
The two teams suffered a disappointing season both domestically and in Asia. Esteghlal watched their arch-rivals Persepolis walk away with the Iranian Pro League title for a third year running while they finished third.
Al Ain, meanwhile, is also third but has a crucial game next week against fifth-placed Al Wahda with a place in the 2020 AFC Champions League at stake.
Monday’s encounter is the ninth between the two Continental giants. In the previous eight match-ups, Esteghlal hold a marginal advantage with three wins, to two Al Ain victories. The last three clashes between the two teams ended in draws.
Key for Al Ain will be Japanese utility player Tsukasa Shiotani who was on the scoresheet in each of the last three games against Esteghlal, the-afc.com reported.
The match is a special occasion for Esteghlal coach Farhad Majidi who was a key member of the Al Ain side that won the inaugural AFC Champions League title in 2003. The former Iran international striker scored in the semi-final as Al Ain overcame China PR’s Dalian Shide en route to Continental glory.