Friday, 15 June 2012 08:27
AFC - Manager of Iranian club Foolad Sepahan Rasoul Khorvash foresees bigger contribution being called from their six new players and club experience to help them again face Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia against whom they were drawn during the AFC Champions League Knockout Stage draw on Thursday.
Sepahan drew 1-1 away and then won 2-1 at home against the Saudis and finished as leaders with 13 points from six matches in Group E, setting up an Iranian derby with Esteghlal whom they beat 2-0 to advance to the quarterfinal.
If Sepahan beat Al Ahli again, they will face the winner of the other quarterfinal clash between the undefeated Al Ittihad of Saudi Arabia and debutants Guangzhou Evergrande of China who is led by Italy’s 2006 World Cup winning coach Marcello Lippi.
“We have six new players for the season who can help us boost our team further for the knockout stage of the AFC Cup,” said Khorvash.
“In fact we are already doing better than the first stage with the injection of these new players. Plus, we are looking to recruit another new player, perhaps an Australian, pretty soon.
“And we are lucky to have played Al Ahli two times during the group stage. We know the team well and we are familiar with their strengths and weaknesses.
“But come to think of it, there’s no good or bad draw because we have to beat all teams whoever they are.”
Sepahan will host the Saudis at the Foolad Shahr Stadium on September 19 before travelling to Jeddah for their second-leg encounter on October 2.