Esteghlal vs Al Ain
Competition: AFC Champions League
Date: 12 March 2018
Kick-off: 16:30 CET
I didn’t think that in 2018 we could see such a bad (in my opinion, “suspicious”, not “bad”) referee in a top continental competition like the AFC CL, but… The Malaysian referee of last week’s Al Ain vs Esteghlal is either the worst referee who has commanded a competition game this season, or, from my point of view, someone who flew to the UAE determined, for whatever reason, to help Al Ain get at least “something” from that game. If you think I’m into… conspiracy theories, imagining things, just take the two and a half minutes needed to see the short version of the highlights, just watch the two penalties he gave Al Ain in the second half. Just, watch them. Esteghlal’s double chance was paying a big (for a double chance) 2.40, that was my only tip, and the Iranian side have ABSOLUTELY EVERY REASON to feel that they got robbed of two points, with the game ending 2-2. One ridiculous penalty, that’s something I could… accept as an “accident”. Two?! Seriously?! On a side-note, Esteghlal fans are absolutely furious, they are expected to put extra pressure on the referee of this match, whatever that means…
I wonder how Al Ain players feel having earned a draw the way they did last week, being given two “as ridiculous as they get” penalties by that clown who was dressed up like a referee. The UAE side have three draws in as many matches in the group thus far, they are level on points with Al Rayyan, whom they still have to visit. The… easiness with which they fell on the grass last week, in the second half, inside Esteghlal’s box, left me personally with the impression that they… knew that the referee wouldn’t think twice before showing the penalty spot. Marcus Berg missed the first one, with the score at 1-1, but Ahmed Khalil did a better job in the 89th minute, to salvage a point for Al Ain.
Previous five matches:
Al Ain vs Esteghlal 2-2
Esteghlal vs Persepolis 1-0
Foolad vs Esteghlal 1-4
Esteghlal vs Al Hilal 1-0
Al Rayyan vs Esteghlal 2-2
Al Ain vs Esteghlal 2-2
Al Ain vs Al Wahda 6-2
Al Sharjah vs Al Ain 3-1
Al Ain vs Al Rayyan 1-1
Al Wahda vs Al Ain 5-1
Esteghlal’s next game is on March 29, at Naft Tehran (Iran championship). Al Ain are visiting Al Jazira the coming Saturday (UAE championship).
Esteghlal vs Al Ain: Head to head Stats
Esteghlal have hosted Al Ain three times in the past. They lost 3-1 in 2003, beat them 2-0 in 2013, and again 1-0 last season. All three were AFC CL matches.
Esteghlal vs Al Ain: Prediction
I’m not an Esteghlal fan, I have nothing against Al Ain (at least not until last week), but work-aside, I wish Esteghlal a 4-0 win with all my heart, having seen the penalties that… “referee” gave Al Ain last week. Feelings-aside, I do expect Esteghlal to win, partly because I can imagine the referee get affected by what happened last week, with all the… rage the followed in Iran, whatever an “affected” referee may mean in a game.
Esteghlal vs Al Ain: Betting Tips
Esteghlal’s win pays 2.40. I’m tempted to add “over 2.5 goals” to that, but at 2.40, I feel Esteghlal’s win is great value.
More AFC Champions League betting tips and match previews:
- Lokomotiv Tashkent vs Al Duhail
- Al Wahda vs Zob Ahan
- Al Rayyan vs Al Hilal
- Melbourne Victory vs Kawasaki Frontale
- Kashima Antlers vs Sydney FC
- Ulsan Hyundai vs Shanghai SIPG
- Shanghai Shenhua vs Suwon Bluewings
- Tractor Sazi vs Al Jazira
- Al Wasl vs Persepolis
- Al Sadd vs Nasaf Qarshi
- Al Ahli vs Al Gharafa
- Jeju United vs Guangzhou Evergrande
- Cerezo Osaka vs Buriram United
- Kitchee vs Kashiwa Reysol
- Tianjin Quanjian vs Jeonbuk Motors