Al Ain vs Esteghlal
Competition: AFC Champions League
Date: 20 May 2019
Kick-off: 20:00 CET
Al Ain are hosting Esteghlal, with their mind mostly on what is waiting for them on Saturday, when they will be facing Al Wahda on the last day of the season in the UAE championship. In the AFC Champions League, Al Ain are, at this point, after nothing, as they sit six whole points behind second-placed Al Duhail. To be present in the competition next season too though, they need a positive result against Al Wahda the coming weekend. The way things stand, they are third in the table in their championship, earning a group stage ticket. If they fall fourth, they’ll have to go through play-offs next year before reaching the group stage, while there is an even worse scenario, them dropping fifth, in which case, they would watch the AFC CL matches next year… from a distance. Should be mentioned that they won their last two games by a total score of 7-1, both in their championship the last 10 days.
Al Ain have a big game in their championship coming up, while Esteghlal just… played it; last Thursday they beat Sepidrood Rasht 2-1 at home, staying/finishing third, a position good enough to earn them a 2020 AFC CL ticket. They still don’t know if they will have to go through play-offs, it depends on how the Hazfi Cup will end (there is a semifinal and of course the final left). No matter what though, the Tehran giants will be in the biggest football competition (at club level) of Asia next season as well. Two weeks ago they failed to beat Al Duhail at home. A 1-1 draw was all they managed, staying three points behind second-placed Al Duhail. They may still finish level on points, but they have just one from their two matches against the Doha side, so there is no way to finish second in the group.
Previous five matches:
Al Ain vs Al Wasl 5-1
Dibba Al Fujairah vs Al Ain 0-2
Al Hilal vs Al Ain 2-0
Al Ain vs Al Ittihad Kalba 2-2
Bani Yas vs Al Ain 2-0
Esteghlal vs Sepidrood Rasht 2-1
Sanat Naft vs Esteghlal 0-0
Esteghlal vs Al Duhail 1-1
Esteghlal vs Esteghlal Khuzestan 4-2
Padideh Khorasan vs Esteghlal 1-0
Al Ain are visiting Al Wahda on Saturday (UAE championship). This is the last game of the first half of 2019 for Esteghlal.
Al Ain vs Esteghlal: Head to head Stats
Al Ain have hosted Esteghlal three times in the past. One win each and a draw, but goals-wise Al Ain have done much better (8-4). Their win was a resounding 6-1 two years ago.
Al Ain vs Esteghlal: Prediction
I don’t see a winner in this game, but between draw and “under 2.5 goals”, I prefer to – theoretically – minimize the risk, and go with the latter.
Al Ain vs Esteghlal: Betting Tips
“Under 2.5 goals” pays 2.00.