Doha: There was no shortage of excitement as the 2020 AFC Champions League group stage in the West drew to a close on Thursday and eight teams from five countries booked their places in the knockout rounds.
Late drama in Doha saw a big-name Qatari side exit but there were no such problems for the Tehran giants while another historic Asian side have made a long-awaited return to the knockout rounds. Here's what those involved had to say about it.
AFC Champions League (West) - Round of 16: Players to Watch
Doha: The 2020 AFC Champions League West rumbles on, with some of the Continent’s finest clubs and players competing in the Round of 16 across Saturday and Sunday.
Established names have proven themselves, while young talents have emerged in the six matchdays of the group stage. the-AFC.com profiles eight key players who have guided their teams into the next round.
Pakhtakor, Esteghlal AFC Champions League Round of 16 clash set to be a cracking affair
Doha: Uzbek champions Pakhtakor face Islamic Republic of Iran’s Esteghlal FC in the second match of the 2020 AFC Champions League Round of 16 at Al Janoub Stadium on Saturday.
Pakhtakor returned to the knockout stage for the first time since 2010 after topping Group B with 10 points. The annulment of Al Hilal SFC’s results meant Pakhtakor had secured their place in the next round before kicking off their Matchday Six win over Shahr Khodro.
Al Ahli Saudi, Shabab Al Ahli promise thrilling AFC Champions League Round of 16 tie
Doha: The 2020 AFC Champions League Round of 16 gets underway on Saturday at Al Janoub Stadium with Al Ahli Saudi FC taking on Shabab Al Ahli Dubai.
Al Ahli reached the knock-out stage for the eighth time in their history after topping Group A with six points. Following the withdrawal of Al Wahda FSCC and annulment of their results, Al Ahli's 1-0 win over Al Shorta on Matchday Three meant they advanced to the next round with two games to spare, having picked up four points from their first two matches.
AFC Champions League MD6 (WEST) Toyota Player of the Week: Mehdi Ghaedi
Doha: Esteghlal FC's Mehdi Ghaedi has been voted by the fans as the 2020 AFC Champions League Matchday Six Toyota Player of the Week.
Ghaedi, who shone during the Iranian side's 3-0 win over Al Ahli Saudi FC on Matchday Six, was top of OPTA's ratings after he received an impressive 8.6 rating following a goal and an assist in the comprehensive victory for the Tehran giants and the fans agreed.