November 8 – Three Saudi Arabian clubs top their West zone Asian Champions League groups after four rounds of matches. In the East zone group games Thailand’s Bangkok United have been the surprise breakthrough team and remain unbeaten.
An Anderson Talisca hat-trick gave Saudi Arabia’s star studded Al Nassr a 3-2 away win over Qatar’s Al Duhail at Khalifa International Stadium on Tuesday, qualifying them for the knockout rounds with two games to play.
Ronaldo wasn’t on the team list having performed heroics in the previous Saudi Pro League fixture with a wonder goal, but the Al Nassr line-up, including Sadio Mane, was too much for Al Duhail whose two goals were scored by Philippe Coutinho.
Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal, without the injured Neymar, are also through to the knockout rounds with a 2-0 away win against Mumbai City. Aleksander Mitrovic was again on the scoresheet as he proves to be an unstoppable force for Al Hilal who won the Champions League in 2021 and were runners up in 2022.
Al Ittihad, with Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kante prominent, make up the trio of Saudi group stage table toppers despite losing 2-0 to Iraq’s Air Force FC.
UAE’s Al Ain are also unbeaten in the West zone group stages and through to the knockout rounds.
Bangkok remain unbeaten
In the East Zone Bangkok United, following a 1-1 draw with Hong Kong’s Kitchee SC are one win away from qualification to the knockout rounds and a group win, with South Korea’s Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors four points behind them.
Bangkok face Singapore’s Lion City Sailors in their next game.
Japan’s Yokohama F Marinos and China’s Shandong Tiashan are joint top of their group with their meeting in the final game of qualifying in early December set to decide the group winners.
Current Asian League Champions Urawa Red Diamonds from Japan have struggled in the defence of their title but still sit joint second in their group with four points. They have been eclipsed by South Korea’s Pohang Steelers who are unbeaten after four games on 12 points.
Japan’s Kawasaki Frontale are also unbeated after four games in theor group and heading into the knockout rounds.
Japan’s other contender, Ventforet Kofu, are locked on seven points at the top of their group with Australia’s Melbourne City. They play each other in round five.
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