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Esteghlal, Persepolis Seek Top Slot in Group Table

Esteghlal, Persepolis Seek Top Slot in Group TableEsteghlal, Persepolis Seek Top Slot in Group Table

Bottom faces top in Group D of the AFC Champions League on Monday when Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia takes on Esteghlal at the Kuwait Sports Club Stadium in Kuwait City.

Esteghlal is already assured of a place in the next round having beaten Al Rayyan of Qatar 2-0 in early April, but the Iranian side must avoid defeat to win the group, the AFC website reported.

The two-time continental champion, which is without suspended duo Roozneh Cheshmi and Omid Ebrahimi, warmed up for the game with a 1-1 draw against Gostaresh Foolad Tabriz in the Persian Pro League last week.

Runner-up last year, Al Hilal’s form has dropped dramatically this time round and the 2-1 defeat in Al Ain of the UAE on Matchday Five confirmed its early elimination.

The Saudi side goes into the game on a high, though, after a 4-1 win over Al Fateh secured the Saudi Pro League title on Thursday.

Persepolis can finish as table-topper too in Group C if it overcomes Qatar’s Al Sadd at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium on Monday.

The Iranian side has won both of its home games and secured a place in the next round following a scoreless draw away at Nasaf two weeks ago.

Al Sadd currently occupies first position and two more goals from striker Baghdad Bounedjah in a 2-1 victory over Al Wasl in early April confirmed a place in the last 16.

The host, which is without the suspended Shojae Khalilzadeh, drew 1-1 with Pars Jam Bushehr in the Persian Pro League on Wednesday although it has already been crowned Iranian champion. The visitors’ last Qatar Stars League game was a 9-1 victory over Al Kharitiyath just over a week ago as they brought a poor recent domestic run to an end.

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