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ACL MD5 - Group B: Al Nassr v Zobahan preview

Published on: 19 April 2016

Muscat: Al Nassr coach Raul Caneda has compared his side’s meeting with Zobahan in the AFC Champions League on Wednesday to a final with the Saudi Arabian club needing to win to avoid elimination from this year’s competition.

The Riyadh-based club are in third place in Group B, level on five points with Qatar’s Lekhwiya and three points behind leaders Zobahan with just two games remaining.

Defeat, coupled with a win for Lekhwiya, would see Al Nassr exit the competition due to an inferior head-to-head record against the Qataris, leaving Caneda’s team with no hope of advancing.

“The match against Zobahan is like a final for us and we have to win it,” said Caneda (pictured), who took Al Ittihad to the semi-finals in 2012. “We are now in a decisive period in the competition which will determine whether we will continue or not depending on the result tomorrow.

“Zobahan are one of the strongest and hardest-to-beat teams in the competition and they have players who showed a lot of fighting spirit in the previous matches. However, we want to put in a good performance and go back home with the three points.”

Al Nassr will be without Ibrahim Ghaleb, who is suspended, and the Saudis go into the game off the back of a 2-1 loss to Al Raed in their domestic league on Friday.

Zobahan, meanwhile, are enduring a slump in form that has seen them win only once in their last six games, with that victory coming against Bunyodkor in the AFC Champions League on Matchday Four.

“We want to have a good performance and hopefully the two teams will entertain the crowd but playing on neutral ground means that we won’t get the support that we usually get back home,” said Zobahan coach Yahya Golmohammadi.

“The match tomorrow will be the most important match for us this year because we can win the group and qualify for the knockout stage. Our players are ready and hopefully we can get a positive result.”

Photo: Lagardère Sports


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