Esteghlal vs Al Hilal
Competition: AFC Champions League
Date: 8 April 2019
Kick-off: 19:00 CET
The silence at the stadium was almost… eerie, the first few seconds after Al Ain’s equalizer four weeks ago. Esteghlal were pushing and pushing their team hoping to see them protect their 1-0 lead, maybe score a second goal to finish the game off, but come 85th minute, Shiotani managed to get the ball through… half a dozen legs, and into Esteghlal’s net. The Iranian side are on just one point from two matches in the group, in desperate need of a victory. Last Wednesday they drew 0-0 with Saipa at home, an extremely poor result. Two game weeks ago they were second in Iran’s championship, two points behind leaders Persepolis. After losing to them and drawing with Saipa, they are seven points behind them, sitting fourth in the table, with six rounds of matches left.
Four weeks ago – and even before the start of the group stage – I shared my hunch that Al Hilal will reach at least the quarterfinals of the competition, and they definitely delivered, beating Al Duhail 3-1 at home. Giovinco was involved in two of those goals, Gomis scored one, Carlos Eduardo scored another one, and generally Al Hilal looked better than Al Duhail, deserving all three points. They are on six from two matches, with awesome chances of prolonging their perfect record, given that this game is not held in Tehran, but in Doha (for reasons that have nothing to do with football). On Thursday they beat Al Hazm 2-3 away from home, despite losing 2-0 at halftime(!). Gomis scored twice, Soriano added the winner in added time, and like that, Al Hilal managed to stay just one point behind leaders Al Nassr. They have four matches left, but none is against Al Nassr, so they have to keep winning, hoping that someone will oblige the leaders to drop points.
Previous five matches:
Esteghlal vs Saipa 0-0
Persepolis vs Esteghlal 1-0
Esteghlal vs Nassaji Mazandaran 1-0
Esteghlal vs Al Ain 1-1
Esteghlal vs Naft Masjed Soleyman 1-0
Al Hazm vs Al Hilal 2-3
Al Ittifaq vs Al Hilal 2-3
Al Nassr vs Al Hilal 3-2
Al Hilal vs Ohod 0-0
Al Hilal vs Al Ahli 1-0
Esteghlal are visiting Sepahan on Friday (Iran championship). Same day, Al Hilal will be visiting Al Ahli (Saudi Arabia championship).
Esteghlal vs Al Hilal: Head to head Stats
Al Hilal have traveled to Tehran twice in the past to face Esteghlal, and both times they won, 2-3 in 2003, and 0-1 in 2013. Last season, the Esteghlal vs Al Hilal game was geld at a neutral venue, in Oman, and Esteghlal won 1-0.
Esteghlal vs Al Hilal: Prediction
Despite having shown in previous previews how much faith I have in Al Hilal to do great this season in the competition, and also despite the fact that the Saudi Arabian side are considered clear favorites to win this game, in this specific match I’m backing Esteghlal to avoid defeat.
Esteghlal vs Al Hilal: Betting Tips
Esteghlal’s double chance, my only tip, pays 1.83, exactly as much as Al Hilal’s victory.