The Persian Gulf Pro League champion will open its campaign in Group E – also featuring Qatar’s Al Duhail and Istiklol of Tajikistan – of the Asian elite clubs competition against Cristiano Ronaldo and co. at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium on September 19.
The Iranian keeper felt the pain after a long throw during a 1-0 friendly victory over Bulgaria on Thursday and was replaced by Payam Niazmand midway through the first half.
“He has suffered a grade 2 strain in the groin area and will need two to three weeks to recover,” club doctor, Alireza Haqiqat, said on Saturday, meaning Beiranvand will also be a doubt for the away game against Al Duhail on October 2 as well as the Paykan game and the Tehran derby against Esteghlal in the Iranian top flight.
His absence will be a huge blow for Reds manager Yahya Golmohammadi, who will be left with academy keepers Amir-Reza Rafiei and Mehrshad Asadi – yet to make a senior appearance for the club – in the squad ahead of the massive games coming their way.
The injury is also a bitter disappointment for the high-profile keeper himself as he was eager for a second duel against Ronaldo after famously saving the Portuguese great’s spot-kick in a 1-1 draw at the 2018 World Cup.
The Al Nassr game will be the first on home soil for an Iranian club against a Saudi side since 2016.
A political rift had seen the teams from the two countries square off in neutral venues for the past seven years, but a thaw in the Tehran-Riyadh relations in recent months convinced the Asian football governing body to give the go-ahead for all matches contested by the Iranian and Saudi national teams and clubs taking place on a home-and-away basis.
Sepahan will welcome Al Ittihad to Isfahan’s Naqsh-e Jahan Stadium in Group C on Oct. 2, with Nassaji Mazandaran taking on Al Hilal at the Azadi Stadium in Group D a day later.