Al Hilal vs Persepolis
Competition: AFC Champions League
Date: 24 April 2017
Kick-off: 17:00 CET
Al Hilal have done their… duty up to now in the group, winning both home games, and earning precious draws on the road. Their tally of eight points in four games is more than satisfying, despite the fact that they dropped points at Al Wahda, the weakest team of the group, and were held at 2-2 against Persepolis in the first round of the group, a game that was held in Muscat, Oman.. Beating Persepolis they qualify for the last 16, simple as that. Al Hilal’s last defeat was back in… 2016(!), on December 26. Ever since then, they have won 13 games, drawn four, so it’s no wonder that they are so close to qualifying for the next round of the AFC Champions League, and also to winning the championship in Saudi Arabia. They are sitting first in the table, nine points higher than second-placed Al Ittihad. It’s also impressive that in their last five games they have kept four clean sheets. Left-back Yasir Al-Shahrani, got injured earlier this month, and will stay sidelined for a long time. He was having a good season until his injury, but Al Hilal’s roster is rich enough to cope with that.
Third-placed Persepolis have two points less than Al Rayyan and three than Al Hilal, but they still have to play against Al Wahda, the weakest team in the group, unlike Al Hilal, who have already played twice against the UAE side. The fact that the game is taking place in Oman, and not in Saudi Arabia (for reasons that have nothing to do with football; same happened with the first round match that had Persepolis as ‘home’ team against the Saudis) gives the ‘visitors’ reason to hope that they can earn a positive result. A win? Doubtful, given that Al Hilal have… forgotten how it is to lose a game. Plus, Persepolis will be without key players. Captain Seyyed Jalal Hosseini and playmaker Soroush Rafiei are both suspended, having seen a yellow card in the previous game against Al Rayyan in Tehran. Also, defender Mohammad Ansari is a major doubt due to an injury.
Al Hilal vs Persepolis: Head-to-head Stats
This is the third time Al Hilal are hosting Persepolis in five years. In 2012 the game ended in an 1-1 draw, and in 2015 the hosts beat the Iranian side 3-0.
Al Hilal vs Persepolis: Prediction
I would be very surprised if Al Hilal lost, given that they have been in awesome form for months now, last losing a game around 120 days ago. On the other hand, in the group matches, they have dropped points both times they left home, and even though this is a ‘home’ game for them, the game is actually being held in Muscat, Oman. Everything considered, I expect Al Hilal not to lose, but I feel a draw is more probable than an Al Hilal win.
Al Hilal vs Persepolis: Tips
Draw is at 3.50, and 1-1 as correct final score pays 7.00.