Al-Hilal, the defending champions, are looking for a fourth straight win to secure a spot in the AFC Champions League round of 16 when they face Tajikistan’s Istiklal in the fourth round of the group stage in Riyadh on Tuesday.
The five group champions will advance to the round of 16 of the Western Region along with the top three runners-up.
And if Al-Hilal win (9 points), they can also top their first group, in case of a draw between Sharjah from the United Arab Emirates and Al-Rayyan from Qatar, who have four points.
At the Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium in Riyadh, Al-Hilal are looking to repeat their victory over Esteghlal at the end of the group without points after defeating them last Friday with a goal from their captain Salman Al-Faraj.
While Al-Faraj lamented missed opportunities, Argentine manager Ramon Diaz felt that his team was in a good position to qualify and said: “We certainly aim to resolve the qualification early so that we have the opportunity to diversify player participation before play life-changing matches in local championships next month.”
In the second match, Sharjah and Al Rayyan will face off in a regional duel for the second map to accompany Al Hilal, following their 1-1 draw in a tie in which the Emirati side were superior.
In the second match, Al Faisali, the leader of Group E (7 points), is looking to repeat his victory over second-placed Nasaf of Uzbekistan (4 points) to break away from the lead when they meet today, Tuesday. while Al-Sadd, a two-time champion (4 points), wants to continue his rebellion after a disappointing start when he faces Al-Wehdat again, the last Jordanian after beating him 5-2.
Al Faisali is missing from player Ahmed Asiri, according to his Greek coach Marinos Ozonides.