Nasaf Qarshi - Esteghlal ACL Preview: Iranian giants aiming for spot in knockout stage
The Tehran giants are hoping to finally achieve some Asian success but must win in Uzbekistan to make sure they're through to the Round of 16
By Ben Somerford
Karimov, Qoraev, Malishich, Azamov
Jiyamurodov, Pereplyotkins, Gevorkyan, Musaev
Heydari, Montazeri, Azizzadeh, Hosseini
Yoosefi, Samuel, Jabbari, Zandi
Nasaf Qarshi may be out of the running to progress in Group A but will have plenty of pride to play for. The Uzbek outfit are free of suspension and have a strong squad to choose from, including Montenegrin striker Ivan Boskovic who has scored in their past two games.
They have only claimed one point to date in this season's ACL, but are currently defeated in their domestic league, sitting second after seven matches including a come-from-behind 3-2 win at Shortan last Friday.
Esteghlal boss Parviz Mazloumi has a series of headaches to deal with for this match after five players picked up yellow cards in their 3-0 win over Al Rayyan last time out, leaving him without Andranik Teymourian, Ali Hamoodi and Hanif Omranzadeh due to suspension, while Kianoush Rahmati is unavailable due to injury.
The Tehran club concluded their league commitments last Friday with a 3-0 win over Naft Tehran which saw them finish the season in third. Arash Borhani netted a brace in that game, as well as Esteghlal's last ACL match too.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Nasaf Qarshi became the first Uzbek club to win continental silverware when they lifted the AFC Cup last year.
- Nasaf's coach Ruzikul Berdiev has spent the past 15 years at the club, having played more than 300 times in their colours, before becoming an assistant and eventually taking the top job.
- The Qarshi club's 2011 AFC Cup success is their only ever major trophy, having been beaten finalists in the Uzbek Cup and league runners-up in 2011.
- Esteghlal may be one of Asia's best supported clubs, but haven't enjoyed continental glory since 1991. They also previously were Asian champions in 1970.
- The Blues are seven-time Iranian champions and six-time Hazfi Cup winners.
- Esteghlal failed to progress beyond the group stage in two of their past three appearances in Asian competition.
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Top 3 Predictions
Nasaf Qarshi 1-2 Esteghlal Meli-Sanati Khuzestan FC
- 21.78 %
Nasaf Qarshi 0-2 Esteghlal Meli-Sanati Khuzestan FC
- 21.78 %
Nasaf Qarshi 1-3 Esteghlal Meli-Sanati Khuzestan FC
- 13.86 %
|AFC Champions League (ACL)||17/05/2012||Nasaf Qarshi 0 - Esteghlal Meli-Sanati Khuzestan FC 2|
|AFC Champions League (ACL)||21/03/2012||Esteghlal Meli-Sanati Khuzestan FC 0 - Nasaf Qarshi 0|
|17/05/2012||Nasaf Qarshi 0 - Esteghlal Meli-Sanati Khuzestan FC 2||ACL|
|03/05/2012||Al Jazira 4 - Nasaf Qarshi 1||ACL|
|19/04/2012||Nasaf Qarshi 0 - Al-Rayyan SC 1||ACL|
|04/04/2012||Al-Rayyan SC 3 - Nasaf Qarshi 1||ACL|
|21/03/2012||Esteghlal Meli-Sanati Khuzestan FC 0 - Nasaf Qarshi 0||ACL|