Al Taawon vs Esteghlal
Competition: AFC Champions League
Date: 9 May 2017
Kick-off: 17:50 CET
Al Taawon vs Esteghlal: Preview
In this crazy group where all four teams can finish with the same points, eight each, Al Taawon are the ones with the biggest disadvantage, because they are at -4, they have conceded four goals more than those they have scored. Plus, they have lost 3-0 at Esteghlal, in a game actually that was held in Muscat, Oman, neutral ground. Plus, this may be a ‘home’ game, but this one as well is being held in neutral Doha, since teams from Saudi Arabia and Iran don’t visit each other in this season’s Champions League. It really doesn’t look good for Al Taawon, but, mathematically, they still have a chance. In their last game, Al Taawon lost 2-1 at Al Ahli, on the last day of Saudi Arabia’s championship, where they finished a very poor seventh, far away from the top three and the Champions League tickets. They can still play in the AFC CL next year though, if they win the King’s Cup in Saudi Arabia. They have reached the semifinals, the games are knockout, and they are facing Al Hilal this Saturday.
Esteghlal are not mathematically through to the last 16 of the competition, but their eight points, their +4, and their 3-0 win over Al Taawon earlier in the group stage, allow them to feel almost, almost sure to progress. Plus, this game is taking place in neutral Doha, so they don’t need to worry about Al Taawon’s home advantage. A draw is enough to send them through to the next stage, but even a defeat would be ok, as long as they don’t lose big, and by ‘big’ I mean ‘huge’. Last Thursday they beat Sepahan 2-1 at home, on the last day of Iran’s championship. They finished second, securing a spot in next season’s Champions League as well.
Al Taawon vs Esteghlal: Head-to-head Stats
Esteghlal beat Al Taawon 3-0 earlier this season, in the first game ever between these two.
Al Taawon vs Esteghlal: Prediction
The fact that the game is being held in neutral Doha is a major detail. It simplifies things for Esteghlal, who, either way, are a better team than Al Taawon, something they showed in Muscat as well, in the previous game between these two at neutral ground, earlier in the group stage, when the Iranian side won 3-0. Plus, Al Taawon have a huge game against Al Hilal on Saturday, another detail that could play its role. Everything considered, Esteghlal should earn at least a draw.
Al Taawon vs Esteghlal: Tips
Draw or Esteghlal is at just 1.28, out of the question. Al Taawon have just one win in their last seven matches in all competitions, Esteghlal have just two defeats in 19 games since mid/late January. My point here is, I feel I can trust Esteghlal to win, at 2.05. They are not the highest scoring team, but Al Taawon have been super unreliable defensively for weeks (more like months) now, so for more than 2.05, I would go for an Esteghlal win in an over 2.5 goals game, at 3.25.