West Asia Domestic Wrap: Early honours for Sharjah, Al Ahed
Jeddah: Sharjah FC claimed the first silverware of the UAE 2019-20 season by lifting the UAE Super Cup on Saturday while Al Ahed geared up for the 2019 AFC Cup West Asia Zonal final by winning the Lebanon Super Cup on Sunday.
Saudi Arabia's 2019 AFC Champions League hopefuls, meanwhile, did not enjoy a winning return to the Saudi Pro League after the international break.
With Al Sadd sitting out last weekend's domestic action to focus on their 2019 AFC Champions League quarter-final against Saudi Arabia's Al Nassr on Monday, Al Arabi and Al Gharafa shared top spot in the Qatar Stars League after registering their second wins of the season.
Join the-AFC.com as we recap the domestic action in West Asia.
Kuala Lumpur: All four ties in the 2019 AFC Champions League quarter-finals remain firmly in the balance ahead of the second legs this week with the eight sides maintaining realistic hopes of advancing to the semi-finals.
Going into the matches, only Al Nassr start with a lead while the other three fixtures will kick off all square. Ahead of what promises to be an intriguing few days packed with drama and tension, the-AFC.com has picked five things to look out for.
Preview - QF 2nd Leg: Al Sadd SC (1) v (2) Al Nassr
Doha: Saudi Arabian champions Al Nassr are eyeing a first-ever semi-final appearance as they travel to Qatar to face Al Sadd in the second leg of the 2019 AFC Champions League quarter-finals on Monday.
Having already reached a new milestone by qualifying for their first-ever quarter-final, Al Nassr will have to hold on to their 2-1 home win from the first leg if they are to eliminate the 2011 AFC Champions League winners.
A fortnight ago in Riyadh, Rui Vitoria’s men had overturned an Ali Asad goal for the Qataris to walk away with a valuable victory thanks to goals from Abdulrahman Al Dossari and Giuliano either side of the half-time break.
Villanueva: Al Ittihad cannot make mistakes against Al Hilal
Jeddah: Midfielder Carlos Villanueva has cautioned Al Ittihad they can't afford to errors against Al Hilal SFC when the two Saudi Arabia clubs face off in the second leg of their 2019 AFC Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday.
The last eight tie is finely poised after the first leg of the 'Saudi Clasico' ended 0-0 three weeks ago and Chilean Villanueva, speaking after Al Ittihad fell to a shock 2-1 defeat to Damac in the Saudi Pro League on Friday, said the Jeddah-based club can't afford a similar performance against Al Hilal.
Riyadh: Al Sadd SC and Al Nassr will have reinforcements available when they face off in the second leg of the 2019 AFC Champions League quarter-final on Monday.
Al Nassr will go into the tie at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium in Doha protecting a 2-1 lead in what promises to be an epic encounter between the league champions of Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Both had good news to celebrate during the international break with midfielder Nam Tae-hee having resumed training for Qatar Stars League champions Al Sadd while Moroccan forward Abderrazak Hamdallah saw game time for Al Nassr in the Saudi Pro League clash against Al Shabab on Friday.
Social Wrap: International Duty, Jet Setters & Family Time
Kuala Lumpur: With the focus having firmly been on the opening games of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Asian Qualifiers, the AFC Champions League has taken a back seat in recent weeks.
Whether on international duty, jetting off far and wide or simply enjoying some downtime with their families, the players still involved in the Continental competition have remained active on social media, though. Here's the-AFC.com's look at some of the highlights.
Shirasaki: Winning mentality behind Kashima's improved form
Kashima: Ryohei Shirasaki has claimed that a collective winning mentality has seen Kashima Antlers’ form improve in recent months as the AFC Champions League holders prepare to take on Guangzhou Evergrande in the second leg of the quarter-finals on Wednesday.
The J.League side secured a goalless draw in the first leg in Guangzhou just over two weeks ago, while their league form has also taken an upturn, having been beaten just once since May as the Ibaraki side have risen to second behind leaders FC Tokyo.
And, just as in 2018, the defending champions could be hitting form at the right time, with Go Oiwa’s team just three games away from a second successive final as they aim to become the first side to defend the AFC Champions League since Al Ittihad in 2004 and 2005.