IranMania- Esteghlal, Iran's representative in the Asian Cup, left Tehran for Saudia Arabia yesterday, December 19, 2001 at 11:30 in the morning. The match between Esteghlal and Al Etehad of Saudia Arabia is due to take place on Friday 21st of December.
Kickoff is scheduled at at 19:30 (Tehran time) in Jeddah.
Esteghlal has 20 players in its entourage but among them, the more well known such as Parviz Boroomand, Ali Moosavi, Sohrab Bakhtiyarizadeh and Behzad Dadashzadeh are not present. Boroomand is engaged with his wife's illness, Moosavi is injured, Bakhtiyarizadeh has the same old story - no ITC card, and Dadashzadeh is out of the picture due to dismissal.
Mansour PourHaidari, the Esetghlal coach spoke about the game before his trip to Saudi Arabia, "Although Al Etehad have recently strengthened their team by signing two Brazilian players for 1.6 million dollars, we are not weak either. I am sure we'll come away with some points. If we can control the first 20 minutes of the game, they won't be able to defeat us for sure."
Last year the two teams met in the Asian Cup Winners Cup and Esteghlal was defeated 1-0 in Saudi Arabia and drew 1-1 in Tehran. This eliminated Esteghlal at the time and Al Etehad became the Asian Cup Winners Cup champion after this victory.
The Al Etehad coach commented on the game on Friday, "Esteghlal is a good team and our players must play their best against them."