AFC – TEHRAN, Esteghlal’s chances of fighting for a 2019 AFC Champions League Round of 16 spot are hinging upon their ability to get the three points against Qatar’s Al Duhail on Matchday Five of Group C on Monday.
A 1-0 defeat to Al Hilal a fortnight ago left the Tehran-based side in third place with four points, three adrift of their Monday opponents and five behind leaders Al Hilal.
Esteghlal’s woes were compounded when a 1-0 loss to Padideh in the Iranian Pro League, resulting in the suspension of the services of coach Winfried Schafer, with assistant Farhad Majidi taking over at the helm.
Al Duhail, on the other side, have had time to rest after the Qatar Stars League reached the end of season point. Rui Faria’s men can confirm their place in the next round with a draw, provided Al Hilal defeat Al Ain in the other Matchday Five fixture.
Goals from Medhi Benatia, Youssef El Arabi and Ali Afif had given Al Duhail a perfect start to the campaign with a 3-0 win over Esteghlal in the reverse fixture two months ago.