AFC – TEHRAN, An exciting encounter is expected at Azadi Stadium on Monday as Persepolis host Al Wahda in Group D of the AFC Champions League with the pair in the hunt for the second qualification spot while, at the same time, both would be ousted should Al Rayyan defeat Al Hilal.
Early pacesetters Persepolis have suffered a dip in form of late, picking up just two points from a possible nine, and must win to have any chance of progression. The Iranian champions welcome back captain Jalal Hosseini and Soroush Rafieitelgary from suspension for the crunch tie.
Amazingly, after one draw and three defeats from their opening four games, Al Wahda’s resounding 5-1 win over Al Rayyan two weeks ago leaves the Emirati side with a chance of advancing. The victory coupled with an Al Rayyan defeat to Al Hilal would secure an unlikely berth in the Round of 16, and Mohammad Abdulbasit returns from suspension to help them in their quest.
Persepolis’s domestic form has tailed off since wrapping up the Iranian Pro League in mid-April, picking up just one point from six in their previous two games, the same tally Al Wahda have managed since their last continental appearance.