Shahr Khodro eyes first-Ever ACL win

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Tasnim – KUALA LUMPUR, Iran’s Shahr Khodro FC target its first-ever AFC Champions League win when it faces 2015 runner-up Shabab Al Ahli Dubai FC on Matchday Three of Group B on Monday.

The first of two Monday fixtures in the group sees the Mashhad-based side in pursuit of a first goal in the competition as well, having lost its AFC Champions League debut to title holder Al Hilal SFC 2-0, then succumbed to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Uzbek champion Pakhtakor FC on Matchday Two.

In finishing fourth in the 2018-19 Iran Pro League season, then overcoming Bahrain’s Riffa SC and Qatar’s Al Sailiyah SC in the qualifying rounds, Shahr Khodro became the 12th different team to represent Iran in the AFC Champions League, a record for any AFC nation.

With more continental experience than its opponent, Shabab Al Ahli’s best result in the competition came in 2015 (then known as Al Ahli), the-afc.com wrote.

Under the guidance of current Jiangsu Suning boss Cosmin Olaroiu and with 2015 AFC Player of The Year Ahmed Khalil leading the line, the Dubai side reached the final, losing 1-0 to Guangzhou Evergrande.

In 12 previous encounters against Iranian clubs in the competition, Shabab Al Ahli won six times, drawing three and losing the remaining three.

Intriguingly, the Dubai side has never won by a margin of one goal, while it was on the receiving end of a 5-3 defeat to Saba Battery in the 2009 group stage and a 4-2 defeat by Mes Kerman the following year.

Having lost both its opening matches against Pakhtakor and Al Hilal with the same 2-1 score line, the double header against Shahr Khodro offers coach Gerard Zaragoza’s men the opportunity to turn things around and mount a serious challenge for a place in the next round.

The match will be held at the Al Janoub Stadium in Qatar.


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