The decision to cancel Saudi Arabia’s Al Ittihad match against Iran’s Sepahan Isfahan in the AFC Champions League has sparked controversy over a second Iran-Saudi clash pitting Al Hilal against their hosts Nasaji in the same competition.
Al Ittihad were scheduled to face their host Sepahan at exactly seven o’clock on Monday evening Saudi time in the second round of the AFC Champions League group stage, but the start of the match was delayed due to the refusal of Al Ittihad players to come to the stadium. before removing one of the political photographs and statues in the players’ hallway. AFK decides to call off the standoff.
– Al-Hilal vs. Nasaji
Al-Hilal Club plans to host their counterpart Nesaji at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran tonight, Tuesday, as part of the second round of the fourth group of the AFC Champions League.
In the last few hours, there have been reports of the possibility of Al-Hilal withdrawing from the match in solidarity with Al-Ittihad’s position.
However, the Koora website quoted a source as saying that the match between Al-Hilal and Nasaji will take place on the date set by the AFC, regardless of the decision to cancel the match between Al-Ittihad and Sepahan.
In turn, Iranian journalist Daoud Ekdari revealed the truth about Al-Hilal’s refusal to fight with Nasaji, emphasizing that the match will take place as usual.
– Daud Igdery (@DIgdery) October 2, 2023
Ekdari wrote on his account on the X platform: “The cancellation of the Al-Hilal match is a lie. The Al-Hilal-Nasaji match will be held on the scheduled date at the Azadi Stadium.”
The matches, which brought together teams from the Saudi and Iranian federations at both national and club levels, were played on neutral grounds in neighboring Gulf countries, according to a decision by the AFC executive committee in 2016, before it was even announced. decided, starting this season, to resume the Saudi-Iranian confrontation on a “home and away” basis.
Riyadh severed relations with Tehran in 2016 after Iranian protesters attacked its embassy in Tehran and consulate in Mashhad to protest Riyadh’s execution of prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.
However, the two countries agreed to resume diplomatic relations and reopen their embassies after a break that was ended by a Chinese-brokered agreement on March 10.
Relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia developed when the Islamic Republic opened its embassy in Saudi Arabia on June 6.