Doha: Qatar Stars League champions Al Duhail are aiming to add to their eight-match AFC Champions League winning streak when they host last year’s semifinalists Persepolis in the first leg of the quarter-finals on Tuesday.
Duhail and Persepolis both topped their groups and meet for the first time in their history after defeating UAE pair Al Ain and Al Jazira, respectively in the Round of 16
After easing to the top of Group B and qualifying to the Round of 16 with two games to spare, Duhail made light work of 2016 finalists Ain, putting eight goals past them across the two legs.
An unstoppable attacking force, Duhail have bagged 21 goals in the competition so far, six more than the next best West Asian side, Sadd. Only Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors scored more across the competition with 26.
Spearheading the attack for coach Nabil Maaloul's side is Moroccan forward Youssef El Arabi. The former Al Hilal player has been in blistering form this campaign, leading the scoring charts with nine goals, level with Al Sadd's Baghdad Bounedjah.
El Arabi scored in both legs of the Round of 16, and will be looking to take his overall tally beyond the current 16-goal mark, having registered three strikes last season and four in the 2012 campaign, including the winner against Tuesday’s opponents Persepolis at Azadi Stadium.
Persepolis secured the Group C top spot with the meanest defence across the competition, conceding only three goals in the group stage.
Then came the Round of 16 and Persepolis conceded four goals in just two games against Al Jazira. A 3-2 defeat in Abu Dhabi followed by 2-1 home win in Tehran meant Branko Ivankovic’s men barely scrapped through to the quarterfinals thanks to a late Jalal Hosseini strike.