x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Asian Champions League: Guide to Group A teams

The inside track on Al Jazira's rivals in this year's Asian Champions League group.

Kwak Tae-hwi now plays for Saudi Arabia's Al Shabab.
Kwak Tae-hwi now plays for Saudi Arabia's Al Shabab.

Al Shabab - Saudi Arabia

The Riyadh giants are making their seventh appearance in the Asian Champions League. They are missed out on last year's tournament but are back after winning the Saudi League for the sixth time. The Belgian coach Michel Preud'homme's men are joint second in the league with Al Hilal; both are seven points adrift the leaders Al Fateh. Marcelo Camacho, the Brazilian midfielder, returned in the summer after a spell with Al Ahli. He is joined by the Korea captain Kwak Tae-hwi, who played for the ACL champions Ulsan Hyundai last year.

Star man: Marcelo Camacho (midfielder)


Tractor Sazi Tabriz - Iran

The Tabriz team were second in the Iran Pro League, their best ever finish in the Iran Pro League, and are making their first appearance in the ACL. They may not have continental experience but they have Antonio Oliveira, the former Sharjah coach, and players who have played in the competition. Moteza Asadi, the captain played for Saba Battery in 2009, Mehdi Seyed-Salehi helped Sepahan reach the 2007 final, and Mohammad Nosrati played for Pas when they reached the quarter-final in 2005 and for Persepolis last year. They are three points behind Esteghlal in the league.

Star man: Flavio (midfielder)


Al Jaish - Qatar

The Qatari club are one of six newcomers in this year's ACL after finish runners-up behind Lekhwiya in the top flight league. Razvan Lucesco's side moved up to third place in the Qatar Stars League after a 1-0 win at Al Arabi last Friday which edged them a point ahead of Al Rayyan in the battle for a spot in the 2014 ACL. The club have also made their mark in their domestic cups as they reached the semi-finals of the Sheikh Jassim Cup and Emir Cup in 2011 as well as the final four of the Crown Prince Cup last season.

Star man: Adriano (striker)