Gross to work on Al Ahli's attack ahead of group stage
Jeddah: Head coach Christian Gross will be working on improving Al Ahli Saudi FC's attacking qualities ahead of the 2020 AFC Champions League group stage.
The club from Saudi Arabia advanced from the play-offs with a 1-0 win over Tajikistan's Istiklol FC on Tuesday, with Youcef Belaïli converting a penalty in stoppage time to take Al Ahli into the group stage for the sixth consecutive year.
Doha: Esteghlal FC head coach Farhad Majidi was a happy man following Tuesday’s victory against Qatar’s Al Rayyan in their 2020 AFC Champions League play-off match.
The former Islamic Republic of Iran national team forward saw Esteghlal score five goals against their hosts at Jassim bin Hamad Stadium to book their place in the group stage of the competition for the fourth consecutive year.
Nabbout ecstatic to be back at 'biggest competition in Asia'
Kashima: Melbourne Victory's match-winner Andrew Nabbout expressed his delight at returning to the AFC Champions League following the A-League side's 1-0 win over Kashima Antlers in the play-offs on Tuesday.
Having weathered a Kashima storm in the first half, Melbourne netted the tie's only goal on 54 minutes when Nabbout was on hand to fire home a deflected effort past Kwoun Sun-tae.
Custodian Lawrence Thomas then put on a goalkeeping clinic to deny the 2018 champions as the A-League side held out for a famous victory.
Play-off: Al Ahli Saudi FC (KSA) 1-0 FC Istiklol (TJK)
Jeddah: A penalty from Youcef Belaïli at the death helped Al Ahli Saudi FC overcome FC Istiklol of Tajikistan to reach the 2020 AFC Champions League Group Stage with a 1-0 win at the King Abdullah Sport City Stadium on Tuesday.
Istiklol had qualified to the play-off stage after stunning PFC Lokomotiv 1-0 in Tashkent in the Preliminary Round 2, while Al Ahli qualified as fourth placed in the 2018-19 Saudi Pro League.
Play-off: Shanghai SIPG FC (CHN) 3-0 Buriram United (THA)
Shanghai SIPG secured their place in the group phase of the 2020 AFC Champions League on Tuesday as late goals from Li Shenglong, Marko Arnautovic and Hulk earned the Chinese side a 3-0 play-off win over Buriram United at Shanghai Yuanshen Stadium.
Li broke Buriram’s stubborn resistance 15 minutes from time in a one-sided match-up in which the Thais defended doggedly before Arnautovic added a second in injury time and Hulk struck from the penalty spot.
Vitor Pereira’s side will now feature in Group H of the AFC Champions League, where they will meet Australia’s Sydney FC, J.League champions Yokohama F Marinos and two-time champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors from Korea Republic.
Play-off: FC Tokyo (JPN) 2-0 Ceres Negros FC (PHI)
Tokyo: FC Tokyo overcame both Ceres Negros and a wet Tokyo Stadium pitch to qualify for the 2020 AFC Champions League group stage with a 2-0 win on Tuesday.
Second half goals from Sei Muroya and Adaílton Da Silva stamped Tokyo’s ticket to the tournament proper, in the process ending Ceres Negros’ bid to become the first club from the Philippines to reach the group stage.
Tokyo’s win means the 2019 J1 League runners-up will join Ulsan Hyundai, Shanghai Shenhua and Perth Glory in Group F, which begins on February 11.