x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

AFC announces Champions League draw

The Asian Champions League draw was announced on Tuesday. The Arabian Gulf League's Al Jazira, Al Ahli and Al AIn have all qualified for the tournament.

Asamoah Gyan during Al Ain's Asian Champions League match against Iranian side Esteghlal in April. Jaime Puebla / The National
Asamoah Gyan during Al Ain's Asian Champions League match against Iranian side Esteghlal in April. Jaime Puebla / The National

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced the Asian Champions League draw on Tuesday.

The tournament, which has been revamped to keep East and West Asian clubs separate until the semi-finals, will feature Arabian Gulf League clubs Al Ain, Al Ahli and Al Jazira.

The teams qualified by finishing top three in the league last season. Al Jazira were drawn into Group A, Al Ain into Group C and Al Ahli into Group D.

Additionally, Baniyas have the opportunity to qualify via a preliminary play-off round that begins on February 8. They will face the winner of an earlier play-off between Omani side Al Suwaiq and Bahraini club Al Hidd. If they succeed there, they will play in a final play-off on February 15 against the winner of Qatar’s El Jaish and Uzbekistan’s Nasaf Qarshi with the victor moving into Group B’s play-off slot.

West Asia draw:

Group A – Esteghlal (Iran), Al Rayyan (Qatar), Al Jazira (UAE), Al Shabab (Saudi Arabia)

Group B – Al Fateh (Saudi Arabia), Foolad Khouzestan (Iran), Play-off West 3.1 Winner, Bunyondkor (Uzbekistan)

Group C – Al Ain (UAE), Al Ittihad (Saudi Arabia), Tractorsazi Tabriz (Iran), Play-off West 3.2 Winner

Group D – Al Sadd (Qatar), Al Ahli (UAE), Al Hilal (Saudi Arabia), Foolad Mobarakeh Sapahan (Iran)

East Asia draw:

Group E – Pohang Steelers (South Korea), Buriram United (Thailand), Shandong Luneng Taishan (China), League 3rd Place (Japan)

Group F – Sanfrecce Hiroshima (Japan), Central Coast Mariners (Australia), FC Seoul (South Korea), Play-off East 3.1 Winner

Group G – Guangzhou Evergrande (China), Knock-Out Champion (Japan), Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (South Korea), Play-off East 3.2 Winner

Group H – Western Sydney Wanderers (Australia), Guizhou Renhe (China), League Runner-up (Japan), Ulsan Hyundai (South Korea)