Kuala Lumpur: The cast for the AFC Champions League™ 2023/24 Round of 16 has started to assemble with two teams booking their spots on Matchday Four.
There is, however, still much to play for and as we await the next round of fixtures at the end of November, the-AFC.com takes a look at how the groups stand with UAE's Al Ain FC and Pohang Steelers of Korea Republic the first teams through to the Round of 16.
Pohang: Head coach Kim Gi-dong said Pohang Steelers showed great character to defeat Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds 2-1 in Group J of the AFC Champions League™ 2023/24 on Wednesday.
Jesse Kante gave Urawa the lead in the first half but Pohang came fighting back, scoring through Zeca and Kim In-sung with the defending champions seeing red twice following the expulsion of Takahiro Akimoto and head coach Maciej Skorza.
Melbourne: Buriram United avenged their home defeat to Melbourne City on Matchday Three by defeating the Australian side in Wednesday’s AFC Champions League™ match at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium.
The magnificent performance shown by the Thai side had head coach Arthur Papastamatis purring as they became the first team to hand City a defeat in this season’s tournament.
Doha: Al Nassr head coach Luis Castro was full of praise for his players after their 3-2 win over Al Duhail SC took the Saudi Arabia club within a whisker of qualifying for the knockout stage of the AFC Champions League™ 2023/24 on Tuesday.
Despite Cristiano Ronaldo's absence, Al Nassr were simply too good as an Anderson Talisca hat-trick secured them a fourth consecutive win in Group E.
Riyadh: Al Ain FC may have become the first team to book their spot in the AFC Champions League™ 2023/24 Round of 16 but head coach Alfred Schreuder was more concerned about the goals conceded in the 3-2 win over Al Fayha.
Tuesday's victory was the inaugural AFC Champions League winners' fourth, giving them an unassailable lead at the top of Group A with two matches remaining.
Kodjo Laba struck twice with Soufiane Rahimi adding the third, with Al Fayha replying through Anthony Nwakaeme and Muhannad Al Qaydhi.
Kawasaki: Japan’s Kawasaki Frontale showed they are the real deal after overcoming first half difficulties to defeat 10-man BG Pathum United 4-2 in Group I of the AFC Champions League™ 2023/24 at the Todoroki Stadium on Tuesday.
The win maintained Kawasaki’s perfect record in Group I, sitting six points ahead of Korea Republic’s Ulsan Hyundai and Malaysia’s Johor Darul Ta’zim and only needing a point from their remaining two matches to confirm their Round of 16 spot.
Johor Bahru: Malaysia’s Johor Darul Ta’zim did it yet again against Ulsan Hyundai FC of Korea Republic, the 2-1 win on Tuesday their third succesive win over the Korean side at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium in the AFC Champions League™.
Akhyar Rashid struck the winner in the 87th minute as the Southern Tigers kept pushing for the win, which left head coach Esteban Solari singing praises of his players’ indomitable spirit.