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 Tehran
- 21.78 %
Nasaf Qarshi 0-2 Esteghlal Tehran
- 21.78 %
Nasaf Qarshi 1-3 Esteghlal Tehran
- 13.86 %
|Asian Champions League (ACL)||May 16, 2012||Nasaf Qarshi 0 - Esteghlal Tehran 2|
|Asian Champions League (ACL)||Mar 20, 2012||Esteghlal Tehran 0 - Nasaf Qarshi 0|
|May 16, 2012||Nasaf Qarshi 0 - Esteghlal Tehran 2||ACL|
|May 2, 2012||Al Jazira 4 - Nasaf Qarshi 1||ACL|
|Apr 18, 2012||Nasaf Qarshi 0 - Al-Rayyan 1||ACL|
|Apr 3, 2012||Al-Rayyan 3 - Nasaf Qarshi 1||ACL|
|Mar 20, 2012||Esteghlal Tehran 0 - Nasaf Qarshi 0||ACL|
|Returns:||Nasaf Qarshi £710.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Returns:||Draw £340.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Returns:||Esteghlal £17.50||Sign up with bet365 for a free bet up to £200|
|1||Seyed Mahdi Rahmati||Goalkeeper|
|-||Hadi Zarrin Saed||Goalkeeper|
|-||Hamid Toroghi Azizzadeh||Midfielder|
|-||Jacques Aurelien Elong Elong||Midfielder|
The Montenegrin attacker remains Nasaf's chief goal threat and could provide the quality they need up front to get into this contest.
The Iran international midfielder is a key creative and attacking outlet for Esteghlal. If Jabbari finds time and space, he will punish Nasaf.
Esteghlal can still finish top of the group and will be motivated by that, as well as confirming their progress to the Round of 16. The Iranians may have suspension troubles but they've got goals in them and could run away with a convincing victory.