Al Ittihad vs Zob Ahan
Competition: AFC Champions League
Date: 5 August 2019
Kick-off: 18:00 CET
Al Ittihad did well enough in the group stage to finish second in their group, behind Al Wahda, drawing 1-1 with them at home on the last day of the group stage. Actually, that, on May 21, was their last official match. Chilean coach José Luis Sierra remains in charge, and made sure to… enrich the list of South Americans at Al Ittihad’s roster; they signed Chilean attacking midfielder Luis Jiménez from Palestino, yet another compatriot of Sierra in the team (the captain, Carlos Villanueva, is also Chilean). Jiménez scored the winner against Leeds United a couple of weeks ago, in a friendly game, making headlines back home, as Leeds are managed by Marcelo Bielsa, a former Chile coach. Al Ittihad finished just 10th last season in Saudi Arabia’s championship, spending a good deal of time either below or right above the relegation line. It’s worth mentioning that according to betting companies, Al Ittihad and their rivals in this tie, Zob Ahan, are the two teams with the fewest chances to win the AFC Champions League title this season.
Zob Ahan finished first in their group, undefeated, on three wins and as many draws. Alireza Mansourian and his players have been preparing for weeks now for these two matches against Al Ittihad, and actually they spent the last couple of weeks in southern Iran, training at places with weather conditions similar to those of Dubai and Doha, where the two games against Al Ittihad will be held. Just like their Saudi Arabian opponents, Zob Ahan did rather poorly in their championship, finishing no higher than 6th.
Previous five matches:
Al Ittihad vs Al Wahda 1-1
Ohod vs Al Ittihad 1-0
Al Ittihad vs Al Fateh 6-2
Al Rayyan vs Al Ittihad 0-2
Al Taawon vs Al Ittihad 2-1
Zob Ahan vs Al Nassr 0-0
Naft Masjed Soleyman vs Zob Ahan 2-2
Zob Ahan vs Foolad 3-1
Al Zawraa vs Zob Ahan 2-2
Pars Jam Bushehr vs Zob Ahan 0-2
Both teams’ next game is the return leg of this tie, next week.
Al Ittihad vs Zob Ahan: Head to head Stats
Al Ittihad hosted Zob Ahan in 2010, a 2-2 draw, a game that was actually held in Jeddah, Iran, unlike this one, which is held in Dubai.
Al Ittihad vs Zob Ahan: Prediction
Keep in mind, the game is held in Dubai, not in Jeddah. Even so, I expect Al Ittihad to win.
Al Ittihad vs Zob Ahan: Betting Tips
Al Ittihad’s win pays 1.90. I’m tempted to add “under 2.5 goals” to that, but I prefer to stay with that 1.90.