Esteghlal vs Al Hilal
Competition: AFC Champions League
Date: 20 February 2018
Kick-off: 16:30 CET
Esteghlal’s double chance (1.57) and draw alone (3.20) were my two tips when Esteghlal visited Al Rayyan last week, and they came good, as the Iranian side earned a 2-2 draw. They took the lead early in the game thanks to a weird own-goal scored by Al Rayyan’s captain, but 20 minutes later they were 2-1 down(!). They got lucky in a couple of occasions not to concede again, and as it so often happens in football, they got a further boost by… fate in the dying minutes of the game, equalising 2-2. They had been playing with an extra man for some minutes, they had been attacking in numbers, so to score that 88th-minute goal was not something that came out of nowhere. Positive result for Esteghlal, a draw away from home, a good start in the group. No game for them last weekend.
Al Hilal were considered favourites to beat Al Ain when they hosted them last week, I thought so too, but looking back, things could have been worse than that 0-0, the final score of the match. Al Hilal created and lost some chances, but so did Al Ain, and someone could claim that Al Ain’s few chances were actually bigger than Al Hilal’s. At the end of the day, having seen how the whole 90 minutes went, I’m left with the impression that Al Hilal should be ok with that result. Obviously they would have loved to start the group with a win, but when a game doesn’t exactly go the way you have planned it, then not losing it is not something that should be… discarded as a failure. On Friday they beat Al Shabab 2-1 away from home, a major win, in combination with Al Ahli’s draw to Al Feiha. Leaders Al Hilal are now four points ahead of second-placed Al Ahli, with five matches remaining in Saudi Arabia’s championship.
Previous five matches:
Al Rayyan vs Esteghlal 2-2
Esteghlal vs Sepidrood Rasht 3-0
Zob Ahan vs Esteghlal 2-1
Sanat Naft vs Esteghlal 1-2
Esteghlal vs Pars Jam Bushehr 4-0
Al Shabab vs Al Hilal 1-2
Al Hilal vs Al Ain 0-0
Al Hilal vs Al Nassr 2-2
Al Batin vs Al Hilal 1-5
Al Hilal vs Al Raed 2-1
Esteghlal’s next game is at Foolad on Saturday (Iran championship). Al Hilal are hosting Al Faisaly on March 2 (Saudi Arabia championship).
Esteghlal vs Al Hilal: Head to head Stats
Esteghlal have hosted Al Hilal twice before, and have lost both games(!). In 2003 it was by three goals to two, and more recently, in 2013, they lost again, 1-0. Both games were for the AFC Champions League group stage.
Esteghlal vs Al Hilal: Prediction
Do keep in mind that this game is held in Oman, not Iran, as teams from that country and Saudi Arabia don’t visit each other, and they host each other at neutral venues. All things considered, I’m backing Esteghlal to earn at least a draw against favourites Al Hilal.
Esteghlal vs Al Hilal: Betting Tips
Esteghlal’s double chance pays 1.63. Draw feels more probable than an Esteghlal win, it’s at 3.20 betting odds. “Under 2.5 combined goals” is at 1.75, and suits my 1-1 hunch.
More AFC Champions League betting tips and match previews:
- Zob Ahan vs Lokomotiv Tashkent
- Al Wahda vs Al Duhail
- Al Gharafa vs Tractor Sazi
- Al Ahli vs Al Jazira
- Kashiwa Reysol vs Tianjin Quanjian
- Ulsan Hyundai vs Kawasaki Frontale
- Kitchee vs Jeonbuk Motors
- Shanghai SIPG vs Melbourne Victory
- Nasaf Qarshi vs Al Wasl
- Al Ain vs Al Rayyan
- Al Sadd vs Persepolis
- Cerezo Osaka vs Guangzhou Evergrande
- Suwon Bluewings vs Kashima Antlers
- Buriram United vs Jeju United
- Shanghai Shenhua vs Sydney FC