Aron Wright - May 14, 2018
Esteghlal vs Zob Ahan
AFC Champions League
Date: Tuesday, 15th May 2018
Kick-off at 17:15 UK/ 18:15 CET
Venue: Azadi Stadium (Tehran).
Lady luck shine on Zob Ahan in the first leg of this tie and an injury time penalty goal give them a slender 1-0 lead to take to Esteghlal for the second leg.
Despite the low number of goals, it was an entertaining contest and both sides were denied by the woodwork more than one time and then some brilliant goal-keeping.
Esteghlal still feel that they deserved at least a draw, but for us neutrals the current score line is only going to make the return leg more entertaining.
The hosts were unbeaten in the competition until last week. And they have enough reason to be on the positive mood as they are unbeaten in the last 17 home games in all competitions.
On the other hand, Zob Ahan had a difficult time on the road lately. The managed only 1 win from the last 7 away games, drew 3 and lost 3. The three Champions League games fall into this period where they drew 1 and lost 2.
Zob Ahan have a better h2h record in recent meetings with Esteghlal in all competitions – 5 wins, 5 draws and 2 losses from 12 games.
Worth to note that Zob Ahan are unbeaten in the last three meetings with Esteghlal, 2 wins and 1 draw. Both wins happened at their home turf.
Esteghlal won 2-0 when they hosted Zob Ahan in the Champions League match here back in 2012.
Four of their last 6 meetings saw both teams scoring.
Esteghlal have a below par home record against Zob Ahan in recent times as they managed just 1 win from the last 5, drew 3 and lost 1. Again, both teams scored in 4 of those 5.
The likelihood of another cagey affair is on the cards when these two seasoned Iranian clubs lock horns in the continental knockout tie. We have already seen that neither sides are here to sit back on the defense. As mentioned at the start, the lack of goals in the first leg is due to brilliant glove work from goal-keepers.
For me, this tie is still in the balance and despite Esteghlal having the home advantage, Zob Ahan are capable to mount an upset. Therefore, I put my faith in the ability of each side’s tall forwards and hope woodwork and goal keeper have an off-day.