Al Hilal back in action in Qatar as AFC Champions League (West) knock out rounds kick off

February 17 – The AFC Champions League 2022 knockout stage (West) resumes on Sunday, centralised in Qatar.

The eight teams competing in the West Zone round of 16 feature a diversity of coaches with two Argentinians, a Chilean, a Spaniard, a Portuguese, a Greek and two local coaches from Islamic Republic of Iran and Uzbekistan in the hot seats in the Round of 16.

After having progressed to the final of the recently completed 2022 Club World Cup in Qatar, Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal will be back in action to defend their 2021 AFC Champions League title and are clear favourites to qualify for the final and a place at the 2023 Club World Cup that will be hosted by Saudi later this year.

Coached by Argentinean Ramon Diaz, the Saudis face Shabab Al Ahli.

Saudi Arabia have three clubs in the knock-out rounds with Al Faisaly stand out as the only second division club amongst them, they are also the only debutants remaining in the competition.

They face the only remaining Iranian team in the competition, Foolad Khouzestan.

Saudi’s third team left in the competition are Al Shabab who face fast developing FC Nasaf from Uzbekistan.

The play-offs kick off with an all-Qatar tie between Al Duhail and Al Rayyan.

The winners will play their quarter final on February 23 and the semi-final (the regional west final) on February 26.

Awaiting the winner of that match is Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds who beat Korea’s Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors on penalties in the East zone semi-final back in August last year.

The final will be played over two legs. The first will be in the West Zone on April 26 with the second in Saitama, Japan, on May 6.

Contact the writer of this story at moc.l1680332735labto1680332735ofdlr1680332735owedi1680332735sni@n1680332735osloh1680332735cin.l1680332735uap1680332735

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