Young Zobahan will be ready for Al Ittihad, says Mansourian
Isfahan: Zobahan FC head coach Alireza Mansourian expects a tough challenge but is confident the Islamic Republic of Iran side will overcome Saudi Arabia’s Al Ittihad in the 2019 AFC Champions League Round of 16.
Zobahan, who are in pre-season training, will face Al Ittihad on August 5 and 13 and Mansourian said his players are working hard to ensure they will be ready.
It will be a changed Zobahan side from the one that played in the 2018 AFC Champions League with several players having departed and new faces brought in.
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The Austrian forward will be tasked helping fire the Chinese Super League side to their first AFC Champions League title and, if he can do so, he would join a list of players who have gone on to lift the coveted trophy.
Tokyo: Kashima Antlers head coach Go Oiwa has his sights set on making history as the reigning champions close in on their 2019 AFC Champions League quarter-final meeting with two-time winners Guangzhou Evergrande next month.
No team has won consecutive titles since Saudi Arabia’s Al Ittihad managed the feat in 2004 and 2005, but Oiwa believes his team has the right mindset to be the first side in 14 years to achieve that momentous milestone.
“We are trying to win back-to-back AFC Champions League titles and we are going into the matches with confidence,” Oiwa told the-AFC.com.
“We’ve changed some players, we have some young players who have grown and gone to a higher level. I’m sure we can win the title again. That’s the feeling within the team, that we have the power to do it.”