Kuala Lumpur: The final eight teams in the 2020 AFC Champions League group stage will be confirmed on Tuesday as 16 sides fight for their passage to the Continental tournament in the one-legged Play-off Round.
Four games will take place in the East and a further four in the West, with former Asian champions Kashima Antlers, Al Ain and Esteghlal among those competing to secure a place in the 18th edition of the competition.
Kuala Lumpur: With the decisive AFC Champions League Play-offs taking place on Tuesday, when eight teams will fight for a place at the 2020 edition, we look back on five iconic matches from the past that saw Continental dreams come true or end in heartbreak.
Since 2009, Asia's football fans have enjoyed the exciting addition of the qualifying stage to the AFC Champions League experience. Over a decade ago that entire process involved just five teams, a number that has risen to today's total of 28 sides.
There have been some classic encounters over the years involving late winners, penalty shootouts and upset victories. And, in one notable case, the winners of the entire tournament progressing all the way from the play-offs.
Underdog role will suit us against FC Seoul, says Kedah's Baddrol
Alor Setar: Kedah captain Baddrol Bakhtiar believes the pressure is off the Malaysian Super League side ahead of their 2020 AFC Champions League play-off tie against Korea Republic's FC Seoul on Tuesday.
The 31-year-old midfielder spoke to the-AFC.com in an exclusive interview following Kedah's 5-1 win over Hong Kong's Wofoo Tai Po in the Preliminary Round 2 and the one-club man reflected on that match, the impressive form of new signing Kipre Tchetche and looked ahead to the crunch games against FC Seoul.
Dubai: Islamic Republic of Iran’s Esteghlal FC moved to within 90 minutes of the group stage, while Kuwait SC’s campaign came to an abrupt end as the Tehran giants claimed a 3-0 AFC Champions League Preliminary Stage 2 win at Rashid Stadum on Saturday.
Towering Malian forward Cheick Diabaté scored a brace before Vorya Ghafouri added a superb third goal just before the hour mark to help Farhad Maijidi’s side cruise to a comprehensive win over the Kuwaiti Premier League champions.
Estgehlal will now face Qatari outfit Al Rayyan for a place in the group stage alongside Iraq’s Al Shorta, Al Wahda of the United Arab Emirates and another qualifier.
Sharjah: Islamic Republic of Iran’s Shahr Khodro FC left it late to defeat Bahrain’s Riffa 2-1 in the 2020 AFC Champions League Preliminary Round 2 on Saturday.
Mohammad Reza Khalatbari’s opener for the Iranians was cancelled out by a Saleh Taher equaliser for Riffa in the first half. Shahr Khodro had to wait until late into the second period for Amin Ghaseminejad to strike the winner.
The victory books a date with Qatar’s Al Sailiya, with an AFC Champions League group stage debut on the cards for Shahr Khodro should they manage a win on Tuesday.
Preliminary Stage 2: Buriram United (THA) 2-1 Hochiminh City FC (VIE)
Buriram: Buriram United survived a late fightback to defeat Vietnam's Hochiminh City FC 2-1 in their AFC Champions League Preliminary Stage 2 tie at the Buriram Stadium on Tuesday.
Burriam broke the deadlock in the second half through goals from Bernardo Cuesta and Ricardo Bueno, while Hochiminh scored a late consolation through Pape Diakite.
The Thailand side will now face Shanghai SIPG of China PR in next week's Playoff with the winners to advance to Group H alongside Australia's Sydney FC, Yokohama F. Marinos of Japan and Korea Republic side Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.