AFC Champions League: Al-Hilal vs. Sepahan match preview, prediction, team news, lineups

AFC Champions League: Al-Hilal vs. Sepahan match preview, prediction, team news, lineups
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AFC Champions League: Al-Hilal vs. Sepahan – When Al-Hilal hosts Sepahan at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh on Thursday, they will have the opportunity to formally advance into the AFC Champions League quarter finals for the third time in the previous four seasons.

Last week’s first leg ended in a 3-1 victory for the Saudi Pro League’s current leaders thanks to three pivotal goals.

Al-Hilal has survived the tournament thus far primarily because of their strong second halves, scoring 16 of their 19 goals in the latter 45 minutes of action.

AFC Champions League: Al-Hilal vs. Sepahan match preview, prediction, team news, lineups

Al-Zaeem has only lost twice in their last 18 Champions League games, the most recent one coming in a 1-0 loss to Urawa Red Diamonds in May 2023.

Since losing the Arab Club Champions Cup against Al-Nassr (2-1) in extra time in August of last year, Jorge Jesus’s team has not lost in any competition.

The Riyadh club has won its last 14 home games in all competitions. Their only home loss came on tournament matchday one, when they played to a 1-1 draw with Navbahor.

Ever since Al-Hilal scored more than one goal in 19 straight matches—both friendly and competitive—no one has been able to stop their explosive assault.

They have only lost both legs in their 2010 semifinal matchup with Zob Ahan Esfahan, the only two-leg matchup they have ever lost to an Iranian opponent in this competition.

Despite playing well for the first forty-five minutes, Sepahan’s first-half surge by Al-Hilal in the second half proved too much to handle, and they lost their first Champions League match of the season.

Jose Morais’ team has suffered four straight losses; their only win came in the Iranian Pro League in December when they defeated Havadar 5-0 away from home.

In order to advance, Sepahan needed to win this match by at least two goals, which they did on matchday two of the group stage when they defeated AGMK 3-1 in Uzbekistan.

Despite the dire circumstances, this team has demonstrated that they are capable of scoring a lot of goals. They have won their previous five games in which they have scored multiple goals, and in each of those victories, they have scored three or more goals.

Isfahan’s club has never lost in the round of sixteen in this competition, but they have also never gone on to win a two-leg Champions League match after losing the first leg.

Although Yellow Storm has claimed a win in three of their five encounters with Al-Hilal in this competition—including a 2-1 triumph on the road in the 2011 group stage—they have never defeated a Saudi opponent in the tournament’s knockout stages.

Al-Hilal AFC Champions League form:

W W W W W W

Al-Hilal form (all competitions):

W W W W W W

Sepahan AFC Champions League form:

D W W W L L

Sepahan form (all competitions):

W W L L L L

This week, Neymar will not be available for Al-Hilal again because he is still healing from a cruciate ligament tear. Neymar is the record goalscorer for the Brazilian national team.

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Aleksandar Mitrovic and Abdullah Al-Hamdan scored in stoppage time of the second half to give them the victory, while fellow Brazilian Malcom tied the score at one with his second goal of the competition to take the first leg.

Muhammad Daneshgar will not be eligible for this match for Sepahan after he received a straight red card during the second half of the first leg.

Before Payam Niazmand gave up three goals in that match—more than in any other Champions League game he has started this season—Ramin Rezaeian scored the first goal for them.

Al-Hilal possible starting lineup:

Bono; Al-Tambakti, Al-Bulaihi, Koulibaly; Neves, Kanno; Abdulhamid, Malcom, Al-Faraj, S. Al-Dawsari; Mitrovic

Sepahan possible starting lineup:

Niazmand; Rezaeian, Yazdani, Zakipour, Noorafkan; Abass, Karimi, Dabo, Ghorbani, Shekari; Moghanlou

Our prediction for this match 2-0 or 3-1 won by Al-Hilal

AFC Champions League: Al-Hilal vs. Sepahan match preview, prediction, team news, lineups

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