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ACL2020 Group B - Preview: Shahr Khodro FC (IRN) v Shabab Al Ahli Dubai (UAE)


Doha: Head coach Gerard Zaragoza has warned against complacency as his Shabab Al Ahli Dubai FC side look to repeat their win against Shahr Khodro FC when the two sides meet on Thursday in Group B of the 2020 AFC Champions League.

The Dubai based side had managed to scrape a 1-0 win against their Islamic Republic of Iran opponents, thanks to a magnificent solo effort from youngster Harib Abdallah Suhail to give Shabab Al Ahli their first three points in the 2020 edition.

A second consecutive win for the 2015 AFC Champions League runners-up would put them at the heart of competition for a Round-of-16 spot as the two sides ahead of them in the group table, Al Hilal with nine points and Pakhtakor with six, lock horns in the late Thursday fixture.

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“Shahr Khodro are a good team, things will be a lot harder now that both teams know each other," said Zaragoza.

“We will work on different plans in order to ensure we come out on top. We always talk to our players about taking it match-by-match. We are now thinking of Shahr Khodro, and we have to win before we start thinking of the following match.”

Brazilian attacking midfielder Carlos Eduardo made his Shabab Al Ahli debut off the bench in the Matchday Three game and could be in line to start for the Thursday fixture as Zaragoza looks to tinker with his selections.

“Eduardo is a great player. He did really well with Al Hilal last year, and that’s why we wanted to sign him. He looked very good on his debut, even though he had just made his comeback from injury, yet we expect a lot more from him in the next match.”

Monday’s defeat meant Shahr Khodro remain without a point in three matches, and yet another defeat against Shabab Al Ahli on Thursday would seal their fate, sending them out of the 2020 AFC Champions League at the group stage.

"In the first match, we did not know much about Shabab Al Ahli,” said assistant coach Mohammad Navazi.

“But now we know more because we played against them. We have a combination of young and experienced players in our team and they will gel together to produce better performances.

Group B - MD3: Shabab Al Ahli Dubai 1-0 Shahr Khodro FC

"We played defensively against our instincts in the previous match. Shabab Al Ahli's experienced players forced us into this, but we will try to deal with it in a better way come the next game. They are a good team, and we will have our work cut out for us in the next match in order to get the win."

Al Janoub Stadium hosts the Matchday Four clash between Shahr Khodro and Shabab Al Ahli at 18:00 local time, while the top two sides in Group B battle in the 21:00 kick-off at the same ground.

Shahr Khodro FC (IRN) v Shabab Al Ahli Dubai (UAE)
Venue: Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Kick-off: September 17, 18:00 UTC+3

Poll ends at 23:00 (UTC +8) on September 17.

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