Persepolis vs Al Hilal
Competition: AFC Champions League
Date: 17 October 2017
Kick-off: 18:00 CET
They were the ones who missed the first chance in the first leg in neutral Abu Dhabi, they saw the assistant referee keep his flag down in Al Hilal’s opener while there was a rather clear offside, and seconds after their opponents were reduced to ten men, they missed another chance to score, make it 2-1, and go on the counterattack. My point is, all little – and big – details went against Persepolis when they faced Al Hilal in the UAE three weeks ago. Did they deserve something better than the heavy 4-0 defeat they left the Emirates with? Deep down, probably not. Sure, Al Hilal’s first goal was offside, but… the very fact that Persepolis conceded two goals in the second half, to a team that were playing with ten men, speaks volumes about how below-below-below average they were, in such a huge game, an AFC Champions League semifinal. Last Thursday they beat Esteghlal Khuzestan 3-1 away from home, they are now second in the table in Iran’s championship, two points behind leaders Pars Jam Bushehr, with a game in hand as well.
Huge credit to Al Hilal for the attitude they showed three weeks ago, when they “hosted” Persepolis in neutral Abu Dhabi. Despite the fact that their first goal came from an offside position (the scorer, Omar Khribin, made sure to… double-check with the assistant referee before celebrating), they were beyond any doubt the much-much better team on the pitch. Probably the most impressive of all was that they were 2-0 up when they got reduced to ten men four minutes into the second half, but instead of… parking the bus to protect their 2-0 lead, they didn’t waste any chance of counterattacking whenever they could, and they got rewarded with two more goals, both scored by Omar Khribin, a night to remember for the hat-trick hero of Al Hilal, a night to remember for the Saudi Arabia side, who are one tiny step away from the AFC Champions League final. Abdullah Otayf is the one who got sent off in the first leg, and is obviously unavailable. Their last game was two weeks ago, against Al Quadisiya, whom they beat 2-1. There are four teams on 13 points in Saudi Arabia’s championship at the moment, but Al Hilal are the only ones with a game in hand.
Previous five matches:
Esteghlal Khuzestan vs Persepolis 1-3
Al Hilal vs Persepolis 4-0
Sepahan vs Persepolis 2-2
Persepolis vs Paykan 0-1
Al Ahli vs Persepolis 1-3
Al Hilal vs Al Quadisiya 2-1
Al Hilal vs Persepolis 4-0
Al Ittihad vs Al Hilal 1-1
Al Hilal vs Ohod 1-0
Al Hilal vs Al Ain 3-0
Next game for Persepolis is on Friday, again at home, versus Esteghlal (a championship match in Iran). A day later, Al Hilal will be hosting Al Batin (Saudi Arabia championship).
Persepolis vs Al Hilal: Head to head Stats
One win for Persepolis and one for Al Hilal, in the two previous games between these two with Persepolis as hosts, but keep in mind that this match is held in neutral Muscat, Oman.
Persepolis vs Al Hilal: Prediction
I expect Persepolis to win, just to save some face, without, of course, winning by that many goals as to really threaten Al Hilal with elimination.
Persepolis vs Al Hilal: Betting Tips
A simple Persepolis win pays 2.20, and I consider it good enough to avoid messing with special bets, extra risky in a match like this, return leg of a 4-0 first game, played at a neutral venue.
More AFC Champions League betting tips and match previews: