Persepolis, Esteghlal to Meet Qatari Rivals

Persepolis, Esteghlal to Meet Qatari Rivals
Persepolis, Esteghlal to Meet Qatari Rivals

The four semifinalists at the 2018 AFC Champions League will be confirmed in the coming days, with the second legs of the quarterfinals to take place between Monday and Wednesday.

Qatar’s Al Sadd and Al Duhail as well as Kashima Antlers of Japan and Suwon Samsung Bluewings from South Korea are well placed ahead of the fixtures. But there remains all to play as Esteghlal and Persepolis of Iran, China’s Tianjin Quanjian and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors of South Korea look to come back from first-leg deficits, the AFC website wrote.

On Monday at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium, Qatar’s Al Duhail plays the return match with Persepolis in what is the tightest of the four quarterfinal clashes. Al Duhail won the first leg match 1-0 at home.

Almoez Ali scored the only goal of the game in Doha to maintain Al Duhail’s 100% record as they matched South Korea’s Ulsan Hyundai’s nine successive wins from the 2012 competition.

Persepolis, though, has won all four of its games in front of home support and recovered from a first-leg deficit against Al Jazira in the Round of 16. It has conceded just once at Azadi Stadium and is chasing a second consecutive semifinal at the continental tournament.

 Esteghlal Needs Minimum 3 Goals

The 2011 AFC Champions League winner Al Sadd goes into the second leg against Esteghlal on Monday with a two-goal advantage after coming from behind to win 3-1 in the first leg in Tehran.

The Qatari team remains the last team from West Asia to lift the continental title and is firm favorite to advance after second-half goals from Akram Afif and the competition’s top scorer Baghdad Bounedjah left a packed Azadi Stadium in shock.

Although Esteghlal came back from a losing position in the Round of 16 against domestic rival Zobahan, this time the Iranian side will have to do so away from home and score at least three goals.

However, under management of German coach Winfried Schaefer, the Blues are after their third Asian title as they have won it twice in 1970 and 1991. The titles have made the team Iran’s most successful club in Asian football and third in AFC champions league.

In other quarterfinal matches, China’s Tianjin Quanjian must come from two goals behind if it is to have any chance of remaining in the competition after Kashima Antlers recorded a convincing 2-0 victory in the first leg in Japan.

A stunning final 15 minutes in the first leg saw Suwon Samsung Bluewings score three without reply against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors for a 3-0 victory that leaves the team with one foot in the semifinals ahead of the second leg at Suwon World Cup Stadium on Wednesday.

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