x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Asian Champions League: Guide to Group C teams

The inside track on Al Nasr's rivals in this year's Asian Champions League group stage

Sepahan star man Moharram Navidkia.
Sepahan star man Moharram Navidkia.

The inside track on Al Nasr's rivals in this year's Asian Champions League group stage

Sepahan - Iran

The Iranians own several domestic records and have won the past three domestic titles. Success has not been restricted to Iran, though, as in 2007 they reached the final of the Asian Champions League before losing 2-0 to Japan's Urawa Red Diamonds. Al Nasr may not provide cause for concern - Sepahan twice defeated them in last year's group stages en route to the quarter-finals - yet Bruno Correa, the Brazilian, has since swapped clubs, and Sepahan will recognise his talents.

Star man: Moharram Navidkia (midfielder)


Al Gharafa - Qatar

An eighth appearance in the Asian Champions League promises more than last year's disappointing group exit. The Qatar club, seven-time domestic champions, are struggling at home, sitting sixth in the table, but January recruits in Nene and Djibril Cisse suggest they have the firepower to trouble the continent's best defences. And in Mark Bresciano, they boast Al Nasr's top scorer from last season. The Australian departed in acrimonious circumstances, and will be keen to inflict more pain on his former teammates.

Star man: Nene (forward)


Al Ahli - Saudi Arabia

One of the most high-profile clubs in the region, the Saudi giants finished runners-up in Asia last year. Having dumped Al Jazira out of the last 16 via a penalty shoot-out, Sepahan were easily dispatched before South Korea's Ulsan Hyundai proved too difficult a task in the final. However, Ahli, twice champions of the Saudi Pro League, are only fifth this season, despite coming home second the previous campaign. Karel Jarolím, the experienced Czech coach, will hope the attacking talents of Bruno Cesar, the former Benfica striker, can help fire them to glory.

Star man: Taisir Al Jassim (midfielder)