Esteghlal aim to end losing spree

MUSCAT: Esteghlal are aiming to end a run of three successive defeats to Saudi Arabian opposition when they take on debutants Al Taawoun in Group A of the 2017 AFC Champions League on Monday. The Iranian side went down 2-1 to the United Arab Emirates’ Al Ahli in their opening game of the tournament and have now failed to keep a clean sheet in nine of their previous 10 fixtures on the continent ahead of the encounter at Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex. Al Taawoun, meanwhile, will go into the fixture with confidence after Constantin Galca’s side enjoyed a perfect start to their maiden AFC Champions League campaign as captain Talal al Absi’s second-half goal saw off Lokomotiv to delight a packed King Abdullah Stadium in Buraidah.

FACTFILE
Al Taawoun pack for their first ever road game in the AFC Champions League after hosting Lokomotiv Tashkent in Matchday 1.
Esteghlal have lost five of their last seven games against Saudi opposition (W2), including their last three in a row.