Preview: Debutants Istiklol itching for dream AFC Champions League start against Shabab Al Ahli
Riyadh: FC Istiklol of Tajikistan will target opening their 2021 AFC Champions League Group A campaign with a win against Shabab Al Ahli Dubai of UAE on Thursday.
Coming into the tournament as champions of the Tajik League, debutants Istiklol will be eager for their first taste of AFC Champions League group stage football but in Shabab Al Ahli, they will face a team appearing in the continental showpiece for the eighth time, setting the stage for an enticing tie at the King Fahd International Stadium.
Riyadh: The 2021 AFC Champions League gets underway in an expanded new format with 40 clubs competing in 10 groups and we take look at the six venues that will be hosting the centralised West Groups A to E over the next three weeks.
Following the success of the 2020 competition held in Qatar, this year’s group stage takes place in a centralised format but across four cities in three different countries as the AFC continues to find solutions for the beautiful game in the continent to navigate the challenges of the pandemic.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and - for the first time - India are hosting the 2021 AFC Champions League group stage games. the-AFC.com profiles the host grounds.
2021 AFC Champions League (West): Six Forwards in Form
Kuala Lumpur: With the 2021 AFC Champions League kick off just around the corner, the-AFC.com takes a look at the strikers who are poised to make a difference in the western side of the continent.
With no shortage of attacking talent on display, we shine the spotlight on six frontmen who are on fire in their clubs’ domestic campaigns and could be set to bring those hot streaks onto the Asian stage in this year's continental club competition.
2021 AFC Champions League (West): Six Starlets to watch
Kuala Lumpur: With the newly expanded AFC Champions League 2021 group stage just around the corner, the-AFC.com picked six up and coming youngsters who could be set to break through in this year’s edition of the competition.
Some of these starlets are established players for their club sides and some have even appeared in previous AFC Champions League seasons, while several are just breaking into the starting XI, but those U23 players are all eyeing a milestone campaign over the next three weeks.
Kuala Lumpur: The 2021 AFC Champions League will get underway in West Asia on Wednesday with 20 sides facing two weeks of intense action as they battle it out for qualification to the knockout rounds.
With the 20 remaining teams from East Asia set to begin their continental campaigns a little later in the year, the-AFC.com looks at some of the numbers that stand out ahead of the start of the 19th edition of the AFC Champions League.
Emotional Sharjah return for Tractor duo Shojaei and Khatibi
Sharjah: Group B of the 2021 AFC Champions League brings a heart-warming story of a reunion after 15 years as Tractor FC head coach Rasoul Khatibi and captain Masoud Shojaei return to their old stomping ground.
At the age of 36, Shojaei is just six years his manager’s junior. Both men were part of the Islamic Republic of Iran squad that competed in the 2006 FIFA World Cup. That summer after their return from Germany, young midfielder Shojaei (20) and forward Khatibi (26) were recruited by UAE side Sharjah FC.
While Khatibi lasted just half a season at Sharjah, scoring four goals before moving to fellow UAE side Emirates Club, Shojaei stayed put, establishing himself as a fan favourite at Sharjah Stadium and becoming one of the league’s finest midfielders over two seasons before earning a big money move to Spanish La Liga side Osasuna where he would go on to make over 100 appearances.