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Football: Al Hilal look for ACL response against Foolad

Al Hilal will face Foolad Khouzestan on Tuesday looking to bounce back from a 1-0 loss to Al Sadd (pictured). Photo: WSG.

Al Hilal will face Foolad Khouzestan on Tuesday looking to bounce back from a 1-0 loss to Al Sadd (pictured). Photo: WSG.

March 16, 2014: Al Hilal coach Giorgos Donis is confident last year’s AFC Champions League runners-up can rebound from their disappointing defeat to Al Sadd a fortnight ago with an improved performance against Iranian champions Foolad Khouzestan on Tuesday.

 

Donis had only been installed days before the tie with Al Sadd and the former Greece international saw his new side lose 1-0 in Doha, having enjoyed a 3-1 opening-day victory against Lokomotiv of Uzbekistan.

 

The two-time Asian champions will face another stern test of their title credentials in Iran against Foolad, who are unbeaten in their last 10 games in the AFC Champions League having began their campaign in Group C with draws against Al Sadd and Lokomotiv.

 

“The defeat is not the end of the world as we were looking to get a good result, but a few details sealed the match for Al Sadd. We had a good performance in the first half and created several scoring chances, but the last touch was missing,” said Donis. “We still have a chance and I’m confident that we can make a good comeback.”

 

Also in Group C on Tuesday, unbeaten 2011 winners Al Sadd entertain Lokomotiv, with the hosts looking to extend their lead at the top of the table following their victory over Al Hilal.

 

Al Sadd’s Khalfan Ibrahim scored the game’s only goal on the half hour mark at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium two weeks ago and the Qatari club were able to hold on to their narrow advantage despite Al Hilal dominating the majority of the second half.

 

Lokomotiv claimed their first-ever point in the AFC Champions League last time out in a 1-1 draw with Foolad, after Oleg Zoteev’s seventh-minute strike was cancelled out by Mehrdad Jamaati 12 minutes before half-time in Tashkent.

 

Bunyodkor, Uzbekistan’s other representative in action on Tuesday, are seeking their first victory of this year’s tournament as the two-time semi-finalists host Qatari champions Lekhwiya, who are also winless in Group A.

 

In Group A’s other tie, Persepolis of Iran will look to maintain their 100 per cent record with a visit to unbeaten Saudi champions Al Nassr.

 

In the east

Table-topping Kashiwa Reysol take on Chinese FA Cup winners Shandong Luneng in Group E on Tuesday, with the J.League side looking to build on their emphatic 5-1 win over Vietnam’s Binh Duong two weeks ago.

 

Shandong will be looking to bounce back from their 4-1 home defeat by 2006 AFC Champions League winners Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, who face Binh Duong on Tuesday.

 

In Group F China’s Guangzhou R&F entertain 2010 champions Seongnam FC of Korea Republic, while Thailand’s Buriram United face Japan’s Gamba Osaka.

 

On the last matchday, playoff winners Guangzhou saw their three-match winning streak come to an end at the hands of Group F leaders Buriram as the Thai champions won 2-1 in China, while Seongnam secured their first three points of the campaign following a 2-0 victory over Japanese treble winners Gamba.

 

Group G leaders Beijing Guoan host Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds, while Suwon Samsung travel to Australia to face domestic champions Brisbane Roar.

 

For more information, visit: www.the-afc.com/en/tournaments/clubs/afc-champions-league

 

Source: WSG (www.wsgworld.com); Editing by SportAsia

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