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ACL2020: How it stands


Friday, February 21, 2020

Kuala Lumpur: With two Matchdays completed, the 2020 AFC Champions League takes a break this coming week as the teams recoup and regenerate after an exciting start to the Continent's premier club tournament.


Some teams have yet to open their campaign due to the coronavirus outbreak but several of those who have are already impressing.

So too are the players with Al Hilal's Bafetimbi Gomis continuing from where he left off last season while the talismanic Andres Iniesta has been at the forefront of debutants Vissel Kobe's sparkling start.

Join us as the-AFC.com takes a close look at how the groups stand.

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Group A: Al Ahli, Al Wahda lead the way

Al Ahli Saudi FC and Al Wahda FSCC are the early pacesetters, with both on four points.

Having settled for a share of the points when they faced off on Matchday One, Saudi Arabia's Al Ahli edged Islamic Republic of Iran's Esteghlal FC 2-1 on Monday to take top spot on goal difference.

Al-Ahli 2:1 Esteghlal Tehran
📷 Photos from the match#AHLIFC #ACL2020 pic.twitter.com/A4qnPMDEcJ

— Al-Ahli Saudi Club (@ALAHLI_FCEN) February 17, 2020

Al Wahda also registered a win but in dramatic fashion as Paul-José M'Poku's 88th minute winner sealed the points against Al Shorta.

The group, however, is finely poised as Esteghlal and Al Shorta, both on one point after playing to a 1-1 draw on Matchday One, remain very much in the mix.


Group B: Pakhtakor keep pace with Al Hilal

Defending champions Al Hilal SFC, with 2019 MVP and Top Scorer Bafétimbi Gomis powering them, have hit the ground running with two wins but sit second in the group behind an equally impressive Pakhtakor.

Ғалаба онлари ва мухлислар pic.twitter.com/RBAI5OoL4u

— FC Pakhtakor (@Pakhtakor_fc) February 17, 2020

The Uzbekistan champions impressed with wins over Shabab Al Ahli Dubai and Shahr Khodro but will face a test of their credentials when they meet Al Hilal on Matchday Three in Riyadh.

Al Hilal, with Gomis already with three goals to his name, have gone about their business in the same determined fashion that won them the title last year and look good for another extended run.


Group C: Al Taawoun prove credentials

Al Taawoun FC took a firm grip on Group C following a highly impressive 2-0 win over Qatar's Al Duhail on Tuesday.

The win followed a gritty 1-0 defeat of UAE's Sharjah on Matchday One to give the Saudi Arabia side the lead in a group that also includes 2018 runners-up Persepolis FC.

Group C - MD2: Al Taawoun FC 2-0 Al Duhail SC

Al Taawoun face the Islamic Republic of Iran giants next on March 2 and another three points will surely have them dreaming of a place in the knockout stage.


Group D: Tight race on the cards

A tight group with Qatar's Al Sadd ahead of Saudi Arabia's Al Nassr on goal difference, with both on four points.

The two played to a 2-2 draw on Matchday One and were in their element on Tuesday, with Al Sadd turning on the style to defeat Sepahan FC of Islamic Republic of Iran 3-0.

تشافي : سعيد للغاية بالفوز وسعيد بأداء جميع اللاعبين، قدمنا مباراة نموذجية وتعتبر من افضل مباريات #السد في دوري الابطال داخل ملعبنا.#السد#قطر pic.twitter.com/qgUeM7uTYp

— AlSadd S.C | نادي السد (@AlsaddSC) February 18, 2020

Al Nassr were equally impressive against Al Ain FC, coming from behind to beat the UAE side 2-1.

Sepahan, despite their defeat to Al Sadd, are also very much in the mix after having beaten Al Ain 4-0 in their opener.


#ACL2020 - Matchday One: Moments

Group E: All to play for as Beijing FC enjoy winning start

Beijing FC opened their campaign on Tuesday and they did it in style, defeating Chiangrai United 1-0 away.

The coronavirus outbreak means Beijing will not be in action again till April 8, when they play Melbourne Victory, but three points in the bag was just the start they would have wanted.

Group E - MD2: Chiangrai United 0-1 Beijing FC

Melbourne opened their campaign with a 1-0 win over Chiangrai only to suffer defeat against FC Seoul on Tuesday.

Seoul FC will have a chance to take sole possession of top spot in Group E when they host Chiangrai on March 3.


Group F: FC Tokyo take early lead

FC Tokyo are the only team to have played two matches, with four points in the bag.

They kicked off their campaign with a 1-1 draw with Ulsan Hyundai FC and registered an important 1-0 win over Australia's Perth Glory on Tuesday.

平日のナイトゲームにも関わらず、スタジアムに足を運んでいただいたみなさま、FC東京にご声援を送っていただいたみなさま、ありがとうございました。#ACL2020 初勝利を掴み、いよいよ今週末からはJ1リーグが開幕します。

ひとつひとつ。
全員で。
ともに戦ってください。#fctokyo #tokyo pic.twitter.com/4q6tlvL8cx

— FC東京【公式】🔜2/23 J1開幕 清水戦(A) (@fctokyoofficial) February 18, 2020

Ulsan Hyundai and Perth Glory will be aiming to make up ground when they meet on March 4 while Shanghai Shenhua are scheduled to begin their campaign on April 7.


Group G: Vissel Kobe look at home

Vissel Kobe are the only team in Group G to have registered points, as the Andres Iniesta-led look to seal a place in their debut appearance.

✌🏼Gran victoria en Suwon. Muy buen trabajo, EQUIPO!!
💪🏻💪🏻Vamos @visselkobe!! #AfcChampionsLeague pic.twitter.com/uiPPjdvcGt

— Andrés Iniesta (@andresiniesta8) February 19, 2020

Johor Darul Ta'zim and Suwon Samsung Bluewings have both been on the receiving end of Vissel Kobe's brilliance and the Japanese side will be eager to test themselves against China PR's Guangzhou Evergrande on April 7.

Johor Darul Ta'zim and Suwon, meanwhile, will be aiming for the three points when they meet on March 3.


Group H: Yokohama F. Marinos sound early warning

Yokohama F. Marinos are the team to beat after the Japanese champions flexed their muscles in impressive wins over Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Sydney FC.

Head coach Ange Postecoglou has warned that his side can only get better but with Marinos not in action again until April 8 when they are scheduled to play China PR's Shanghai SIPG FC, Sydney and Jeonbuk will look to make up ground when they face off on March 4.

Group H - MD2: Yokohama F. Marinos 4-0 Sydney FC

Head coach Ange Postecoglou has warned that his side can only get better but with Marinos not in action again until April 8 when they are scheduled to play China PR's Shanghai SIPG FC, Sydney and Jeonbuk will look to make up ground when they face off on March 4.


Poll: Which team has impressed you the most? Vote below. Poll ends on Sunday, 16:00 (UTC +8).

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