Tehran: Esteghlal coach Amir Ghalenoei has insisted that his team will not be adopting a cautious approach on Wednesday when they take on Al Shabab Al Arabi in the second leg of their Round of 16 clash in the AFC Champions League.
The recently-crowned Iranian champions are in a strong position to reach the quarter-finals for the first time after they scored four second-half goals in Dubai in a come-from-behind 4-2 victory over the United Arab Emirates club in last week’s first leg.
That result means that Al Shabab would need to score at least three goals in the return match at the Azadi Stadium to stay alive in the competition but Ghalenoei has refused to write them off just yet.
"Al Shabab Al Arabi are a very strong side and they have some very influential players. They don't create many scoring chances but they use their chances in the best way,” said the Esteghlal coach (pictured).
“The main part of the match has yet to be played and it is not going to be an easy task for us. But we are fully prepared to take them on and we have been training hard in the past couple of days with our main focus on tactics.
“We took the initiative in the first leg in the UAE and fortunately our destiny is now in our hands. Each coach has his own philosophy and I am going to play offensively against them although we will try not to concede any goals.
We will be playing at our home ground so I will be banking on the support of our fans as always. I am sure many of them will be there to watch the game at the stadium and we want to send them home satisfied and content with our performance."
While Esteghlal’s domestic season is over, Al Shabab still have games left in the UAE Pro League and the President’s Cup.
However, coach Marcos Paqueta said that his team still intend to give a good account of themselves in the AFC Champions League.
"We are taking on a strong team in an important match and while our next matches in the local league and the President’s Cup are very important for us, we will do our best to put out a good show and perform well," said the Brazilian.
“As you know, nothing is predictable in football. In the first leg, we had to play offensively since we were playing at home and that gave Esteghlal the chance to use the open space to score four times.
“Tomorrow, we will try to manage the game from the beginning. It is already a big surprise that we have got this far in the competition so we will try to catch our opponents off guard in front of their vocal crowd."