x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Al Wahda warned on Seongnam

The leading scorer for the team that lost to Koreans in the Asian Champions League final believes Al Wahda will be in for trouble.

The leading scorer for the team that lost to Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma in the Asian Champions League final believes Al Wahda will be in for trouble if they play the victorious Koreans in the Club World Cup next month.

Igor Castro, a forward for the Iranian side Zob Ahan, said: "I think Seongnam will defeat Al Wahda. They are a better team and have better players and should have few problems."

It is not unusual for sportsmen to credit their most recent conquerors with great powers, but Castro has some credibility because Zob Ahan played Wahda twice this year in the first stage of the Champions League.

Zob Ahan won a four-team group which included Wahda, Al Ittihad of Saudi Arabia and Bunyodkor of Uzbekistan. Wahda finished bottom of the group but split their matches with Zob Ahan, losing 1-0 in Isfahan in February and winning 1-0 in Abu Dhabi in April.

Josef Hickersberger, the Wahda coach then and now, said his club had not given their full attention to the Champions League.

"Our focus was on winning the Pro League," he said, a goal Wahda accomplished.

In predicting Seongnam will defeat Wahda, Castro at the least gives the UAE side credit for this by assuming Wahda will defeat Hekari United of Papua New Guinea in the Club World Cup's opening match, a victory Wahda certainly does not consider a sure thing.

If Wahda does advance to meet Seongnam, the winner would have a semi-final date with Inter Milan.

Castro singled out the Seongnam striker Mauricio Molina for special attention.

"Molina is a very good player and will have to be watched. He can win the game for Seongnam."

Zob Ahan lost 3-1 to Seongnam in the final at Tokyo.

sports@thenational.ae