AFC – AHVAZ, Tournament debutants Esteghlal Khouzestan require a point against Group B’s bottom side Al Jazira on Tuesday to qualify for the last 16 of the 2017 AFC Champions League at the first time of asking.
After winning their opening two games on the continent, the Iranian side have drawn two and lost one ahead of the fixture at Ghadir Stadium. But a two-point lead over third-placed Al Fateh, coupled with a better head-to-head record, means a draw against already eliminated Al Jazira will suffice.
Salman Bahrani’s stoppage-time equaliser against Al Fateh in a 1-1 draw two weeks ago has left the hosts’ qualification prospects in their own hands and they warmed up for the clash with a 2-1 victory over Saba Qom in the Iranian Pro League on Thursday, although Farshad Salarvand sits out through suspension.
The visitors’ form on the continent has been woeful, in stark contrast to a domestic campaign that saw them wrap up the UAE League with several games to spare. Two wins from two domestically since their last Group B game means the Emirati team go into the tie on form, but both Yaqoub Al Hosani and Fares Juma are suspended.