Quarter-Finals – Preview
Kuala Lumpur: The eight remaining teams in the 2019 AFC Champions League will return to action in the coming days with the first legs of the quarter-finals played between Monday and Wednesday.
Five former winners are aiming to lift the coveted trophy for the second or even third occasion, while three of the sides will look to create history and be crowned AFC Champions League winners for the first time.
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Al Nassr v Al Sadd
The first match of the week sees the only newcomers in the quarter-finals, Al Nassr, host the last side from the West to win the competition, Al Sadd, on Monday.
Saudi Pro League champions Al Nassr have enjoyed their finest AFC Champions League campaign to date after advancing past the United Arab Emirates’ Al Wahda in the last 16 to reach the last eight for the first time.
The Riyadh side have not tasted defeat since Matchday Two but will likely face their toughest task yet against the 2011 winners Al Sadd, who also reached the semi-finals last year and will aim to go one better this time round.
The hosts will see victory at King Fahd International Stadium as vital, particularly against an Al Sadd team who, while impressive on home soil, have yet to post an away victory in the 2019 competition.
Al Nassr (KSA) vs Al Sadd (QAT)
Venue: King Fahd International Stadium, Riyadh
Kick-off: August 26, 20:45 UTC+3
Al Ittihad v Al Hilal
Two of the biggest rivals in Asian football will square off on Tuesday as two-time AFC Champions League winners Al Ittihad welcome two-time runners-up Al Hilal to King Abdullah Sports City in an all-Saudi Arabia encounter.
Champions in 2004 and 2005, Al Ittihad have not enjoyed recent success on the Continent, but victory over Iranian side Zobahan in the Round of 16 secured their first quarter-final appearance since 2014.
The team standing in the way of a first semi-final appearance since 2012 are Al Hilal who, after a disappointing 2018 campaign, are back in the last eight for the sixth time in 10 years – an achievement only China’s Guangzhou Evergrande can match
Al Ittihad and Al Hilal were also drawn against each other in the 2011 Round of 16, with the Jeddah side ousting their Riyadh rivals 3-1 in the one-legged fixture before eventually exiting at the semi-finals.
Al Ittihad (KSA) vs Al Hilal (KSA)
Venue: King Abdullah Sports City, Jeddah
Kick-off: August 27, 20:45 UTC+3
Shanghai SIPG v Urawa Red Diamonds
Shanghai SIPG will look to gain revenge for defeat in the 2017 semi-finals when the Chinese champions take on two-time winners Urawa Red Diamonds at Shanghai Stadium on Tuesday.
Urawa edged a tight affair two years ago, winning the semi-final 2-1 on aggregate before going on to be crowned champions and adding to the title they won back in 2007.
The campaign remains Shanghai’s best on the Continent although they have since claimed their first Chinese Super League title and will be confident they can add the AFC Champions League crown to their trophy cabinet.
While the hosts have never lost at home in the competition, the visitors showed what they are capable of on the road by reversing a 2-1 deficit from the Round of 16 first leg to post a 3-0 victory away at Ulsan Hyundai and secure their quarter-final berth.
Shanghai SIPG vs Urawa Red Diamonds
Venue: Shanghai Stadium, Shanghai
Kick-off: August 27, 19:30 UTC+8
Guangzhou Evergrande v Kashima Antlers
Guangzhou Evergrande will lock horns with defending champions Kashima Antlers in the final first leg match of the week when the teams face off at Tianhe Stadium on Wednesday.
The pair last met in the 2017 Round of 16 with Guangzhou edging through on away goals before falling at the quarter-finals, while Kashima returned to lift the title the following year.
Chinese Super League leaders Guangzhou may have won the tournament on two occasions yet they have not been beyond the last eight since being crowned champions in 2015.
While the holders are one of the biggest names in Japanese football, this is only the third time they have reached the last eight in nine attempts since their tournament debut in 2004.
Guangzhou Evergrande vs Kashima Antlers
Venue: Tianhe Stadium, Guangzhou
Kick-off: August 28, 20:00 UTC+8
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