Preview - Group A: Zobahan FC (IRN) v Al Nassr (KSA)
Doha: Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr and Islamic Republic of Iran’s Zobahan face-off on Wednesday in a direct battle for the top spot of the 2019 AFC Champions League Group A at the Grand Hamad Stadium in Doha.
The match had been scheduled to take place on May 21 in Karbala, Iraq but was postponed and moved to an alternative venue for security reasons.
Both teams had secured qualification to the Round of 16 with a game to spare. Zobahan needed an added time goal from Reza Habibzadeh to snatch a point from Al Zawraa on Matchday Five and reach 11 points at the top of the group. Al Nassr, meanwhile, cruised to a 3-1 win over Al Wasl to join the Iranians in the next stage.
Abu Dhabi: 2003 AFC Champions League winners Al Ain missed out on direct qualification to the 2020 edition after falling 1-0 to Al Wahda as the 2018/19 UAE Pro-League came to a close on Sunday.
Sebastian Tagliabue was the star of the night at the Al Nahyan Stadium when he headed home in the 87th minute to ensure Al Wahda leapfrogged Al Ain to finish third in the standings on goal difference with 46 points. The Argentinian also clinched the topscorer award with 27 goals to his name, having played 25 matches.
Ibaraki: Kashima Antlers head coach Go Oiwa expects his team to learn the lessons of a challenging group phase in the 2019 AFC Champions League after the defending champions squeezed into the last 16 on Wednesday.
Substitute Sho Ito scored twice to earn Kashima a 2-1 win over Shandong Luneng and a place in the next round, when they will play fellow J.League side Sanfrecce Hiroshima over two legs in June.
Melbourne: Hiroshi Jofuku hailed his goal scorers as Sanfrecce Hiroshima signed off from a successful group phase of the 2019 AFC Champions League with a 3-1 win over Melbourne Victory on Wednesday.
The J.League side had already secured their passage to the next phase with their final match remaining, and goals from 2018 Asian Games silver medallist Taishi Matsumoto, Yusuke Minagawa and Tsukasa Morishima ensured Jofuku’s side notched up a fifth win in a row in Group F.
“I picked a lot of players who haven't been playing in the J.League,” said Jofuku, who has sought to juggle his squad throughout the group phase. “We've had some issues scoring in the league so we tried to make sure to address that in today's game.
“I thought the match was important because to get through an entire season we need everyone in the squad to contribute and we managed to score three goals. It's an incredible effort.”
Jeonju: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors coach Jose Morais has asked his players to learn the lessons from their 0-0 draw with Buriram United in their final Group G game of the 2019 AFC Champions League as the two-time champions move into the knockout rounds of the Continental championship.
The K League side were unable to break down Buriram’s well-organised back line throughout the 90 minutes at Jeonju World Cup Stadium, but the result mattered little as Morais and his team had already guaranteed themselves top spot in the group.