Esteghlal vs Al Ain
Competition: AFC Champions League
Date: 12 March 2019
Kick-off: 16:30 CET
Esteghlal’s 3-0 defeat at Al Duhail last week is a perfect example of how mercilessly you can get punished if you don’t make your scoring chances count, if you let a game stay at 0-0 wasting all your chances to take the lead. Esteghlal went 1-0 down in the 56th minute, while up until that point they were the only team to have missed real chances to score. Once they went down, they… stayed down, conceding again in the 73rd minute, and then again in added time. Looking at the 90 minutes as a whole, it’s hard to believe that Esteghlal lost by three(!!!) goals, but… that’s football. Time will tell if that three-goal deficit will make a difference (once the group stage reaches its sixth match-day). On Friday they beat Naft Masjed Soleyman 1-0. They sit third in Iran’s championship, just two points behind leaders Persepolis.
I was left with the impression that Al Ain created enough chances last week against Al Hilal to deserve a draw, but at the end of the day, you need to send the ball in, just creating chances is not enough. They went 0-1 down in the 65th minute, kept missing chances, and the only thing that changed on the pitch before the final whistle was the… number of players, as Al Ain had Ismail Ahmed sent-off in added time. Negative start for the UAE side, a home defeat, in a super difficult group, where you can’t expect Al Hilal to go on and win all six games (which would make Al Ain’s defeat last week less important, if they could count on Al Hilal winning all other games, facilitating Al Ain’s qualification as second in the group). No games in the UAE championship last weekend. Al Ain remain second, eight points behind leaders Al Sharjah.
Previous five matches:
Esteghlal vs Naft Masjed Soleyman 1-0
Al Duhail vs Esteghlal 3-0
Foolad vs Esteghlal 1-3
Esteghlal vs Zob Ahan 3-0
Esteghlal vs Pars Jam Bushehr 2-0
Al Ain vs Al Hilal 0-1
Shabab Al Ahli Dubai vs Al Ain 2-0
Al Ain vs Al Nasr 2-1
Al Dhafra vs Al Ain 3-0
Al Ain vs Al Wahda 1-0
Esteghlal’s next game is on Saturday, again at home, versus Nassaji Mazandaran (Iran championship). Al Ain are hosting Al Fujairah in almost three weeks.
Esteghlal vs Al Ain: Head to head Stats
Esteghlal have hosted Al Ain four times in the past; two wins for them, one for the UAE side, and a draw. Total goals, 5-4 for Esteghlal.
Esteghlal vs Al Ain: Prediction
I expect Esteghlal to look more clinical (finishing-wise) than last week, score, and win the game.
Esteghlal vs Al Ain: Betting Tips
The hosts’ victory is at 2.10. I consider it satisfying enough to avoid combining it with number of goals.