AFC Champions League heats up as big clubs move into round of 16 battle

April 19 – The last 16 teams in this season’s AFC Champions League were confirmed on Wednesday following the competition’s final group stage fixtures on Wednesday.

Among those seeking to win the title for the first time will be Qatar’s Al Duhail, who advanced to the Round of 16 having won all six of their games in Group B.

They will come up against 2017 quarter-finalists Al Ain in the next phase, an imposing task for head coach Djamel Belmadi’s side given the Emirati club’s recent history in a tournament they won in 2003.

Last year’s semi-finalists Persepolis from Iran and China’s Shanghai SIPG also qualified from the group stage after finishing top of Groups C and F respectively, with ties against United Arab Emirates side Al Jazira and Japan’s Kashima Antlers now awaiting them.

Elsewhere, two-time winners Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors will face Thailand’s Buriram United, while Guangzhou Evergrande, who have also won the title twice, are scheduled to play fellow Chinese Super League outfit and AFC Champions League debutants Tianjin Quanjian.

There will also be a South Korean derby when Suwon Samsung Bluewings take on Ulsan Hyundai, with domestic rivalry to the fore in Iran as well where Zobahan and Esteghlal are set to compete for a place in the quarter-finals.

Qatar’s Al Sadd will play Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli in the remaining Round of 16 tie.

Round of 16: First Leg Fixtures (May 7-9)

Al Jazira v Persepolis
Al Sadd v Al Ahli
Zobahan v Esteghlal
Al Ain v Al Duhail
Tianjin Quanjian v Guangzhou Evergrande
Buriram United v Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
Ulsan Hyundai v Suwon Samsung Bluewings
Kashima Antlers v Shanghai SIPG

(Return Leg: May 14-16)

Contact the writer of this story at moc.l1702259257labto1702259257ofdlr1702259257owedi1702259257sni@o1702259257fni1702259257

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