Saipa vs Minerva Punjab
Competition: AFC Champions League
Date: 12 February 2019
Kick-off: 14:40 CET
Saipa are in the second qualifying round of the AFC Champions League because Iran have no less than four tickets to the competition, two teams make it directly to the group stage, and two have to go through one qualifying round and play-offs. They earned their ticket finishing fourth last season in their championship. This is their second appearance in the competition, reappearing after 11 whole years. Back in 2008, they took many by surprise, finishing the group stage undefeated(!). Three wins and three draws pushed them to the knock-out stages, they drew 2-2 at home with Bunyodkor in the first leg, but got destroyed in Uzbekistan in the return leg, losing 5-1(!). They are just 10th in Iran’s championship this season, on 18 points from 16 matches. A week ago they drew 2-2 at Sepidrood Rasht.
Minerva Punjab are the 2017-2018 I-League champions, the best team in India during that season. Things have changed… dramatically since then, though; They are currently 9th in the table, on just 14 points from 16 matches. The season in India is in full swing, Minerva Punjab don’t have the problem other teams have, not having played an official match in months, but… on the field, recently, they have left a lot to be desired. In six matches in 2019, they have managed just one draw, they have lost the other five games, and have scored just twice in all six matches. This is their first appearance in the AFC Champions League, and I seriously doubt they’ll play a second game in the competition this season.
Previous five matches:
Sepidrood Rasht vs Saipa 2-2
Damash Gilanian vs Saipa 2-1
Sanat Naft vs Saipa 2-1
Sanat Naft vs Saipa 1-3
Saipa vs Esteghlal Khuzestan 1-1
Indian Arrows vs Minerva Punjab 2-1
Minerva Punjab vs Aizawl 0-1
Minerva Punjab vs Shillong Lajong 0-1
Minerva Punjab vs Gokulam 1-1
Mohun Bagan vs Minerva Punjab 2-0
Saipa are visiting Zob Ahan on Sunday (Iran championship). Same day, Minerva Punjab will be visiting Real Kashmir (India championship).
Saipa vs Minerva Punjab: Head to head Stats
No history between these two.
Saipa vs Minerva Punjab: Prediction
There are eight AFC Champions League second qualifying round matches this Tuesday, and Saipa are considered the absolute biggest favorites to qualify. Their win pays just 1.15, lower than any other favorite.
Saipa vs Minerva Punjab: Betting Tips
For something paying 2.00 or more, I would risk with the second half to be Saipa’s highest scoring half. This pays 2.05, and suits my hunch that the Indians of Minerva Punjab will look very enthusiastic in the first half, but… sort of collapse in the second one, after going 1-0 down.