Shabab Al Ahli Dubai coach Gerard Zaragoza is hoping for a gift from Shahr Khodro FC, with his side clinging on to hopes of qualifying for the 2020 AFC Champions League Round of 16 by a string when they face Al Hilal SFC in Group B today.
The reigning champions have already booked their ticket to the next round, and guaranteed the top spot of the group. Meanwhile Shabab Al Ahli sit in third place, a point behind Pakhtakor in second and should they beat Al Hilal, they will still need the Uzbek side to drop points against Shahr Khodro FC.
“We took seven points from the past three games, and we are only thinking of getting a win in this match to keep our hopes of qualification on track,” said Zaragoza.
“I personally think the most important part is not conceding, this will make things a lot easier for us although in games such as this one our focus should not solely be on keeping a clean sheet, we have to score as well and for that reason we will try to take full advantage of our attacking capabilities.
“Things are tricky for Al Hilal, but they have really good youngsters and their name is enough to win them matches. I wish them a full recovery; the players, staff and management.”
Midfielder Carlos Eduardo has spent five years at Al Hilal, becoming the team’s all-time top non-Saudi goalscorer with 81 goals, and today he faces his former teammates for the first time since his summer move to Shabab Al Ahli.
“Eduardo came back from injury recently and he is slowly getting back to his best. It is true, he was part of Al Hilal for a long time until recently, but he is a professional player and will give his all for his current team.”
A Bafetimbi Gomis’ brace at the Rashid Stadium in Dubai was enough to seal a 2-1 win for Al Hilal on Matchday Two, and the Saudi side boast the competition’s best defensive record with just one more goal conceded since.
6pm: Esteghlal (IRN) vs Al Ahli (KSA), at Al Janoub Stadium
9pm: Shahr Khodro (IRN) vs Pakhtakor (UZB), at Al Janoub Stadium
9pm: Al Hilal (KSA) vs Shabab Al Ahli (UAE), at Khalifa International Stadium
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