Preview MD1 - Group C: Al Duhail SC (QAT) vs Persepolis FC (IRN)
Doha: Qatar’s Al Duhail welcome Islamic Republic of Iran’s Persepolis in a repeat of the 2018 AFC Champions League quarter-final as both sides look to get their 2020 campaign off to a positive start on Tuesday.
The two sides had locked horns two years earlier, with Almoez Ali’s strike the difference in the first leg, before two late goals at Azadi Stadium gave Persepolis the semi-final ticket with a 3-2 aggregate victory.
In 2019, both sides endured frustrating campaigns, albeit to different extents; Al Duhail were eliminated in the Round of 16 at the hands of arch-rivals Al Sadd, while Persepolis were unable to advance past the group stage, finishing bottom despite collecting seven points.
Group A - MD1: Al Shorta (IRQ) 1-1 Esteghlal FC (IRN)
Erbil: Iraq’s Al Shorta collected a point on their return to the AFC Champions League after holding Islamic Republic of Iran’s Esteghlal FC to a 1-1 draw at Franso Hariri Stadium in Group A on Monday.
The home team went into the game dreaming of becoming the first-ever Iraqi side to defeat an Iranian team in the AFC Champions League after seven previous meetings between teams from the two neighbouring nations.
Group A - MD1: Al Wahda FSCC (UAE) 1-1 Al Ahli Saudi FC (KSA)
Abu Dhabi: Rim Chang-woo’s last-minute equaliser rescued a point for Al Wahda FSCC, cancelling out Abdulfattah Asiri’s opener for Al Ahli Saudi FC as the two sides played out a 1-1 draw on Matchday One of the 2020 AFC Champions League Group A on Monday.
The Saudis travelled to Al Nahyan Stadium knowing they were yet to record a win in their two previous attempts against Al Wahda, having lost once and drawn the other in the 2008 AFC Champions League group stage.
Group B - MD1: Pakhtakor (UZB) 2-1 Shabab Al Ahli Dubai (UAE)
Tashkent: Goals from Jaloliddin Masharipov and Dragan Ceran helped Uzbekistan's Pakhtakor get their 2020 AFC Champions League Group B campaign off to a winning start with a 2-1 home victory over Shabab Al Ahli Dubai of the United Arab Emirates in a muddy Pakhtakor Stadium on Monday.
The hosts came into their first encounter against Shabab Al Ahli Dubai hoping to extend their six-match unbeaten home run in the competition.
Group B - MD1: Al Hilal SFC (KSA) 2-0 Shahr Khodro FC (IRN)
Dubai: Goals from Andre Carrillo and Bafetimbi Gomis either side of the half-time break earned Al Hilal SFC a 2-0 victory over Islamic Republic of Iran’s Shahr Khodro FC at Al Wasl Stadium as the Saudis got their AFC Champions League title defence off to a winning start on Monday.
Making their 16th appearance in the competition, Al Hilal wasted no time in taking the game to their debutant opponents’ half.
Inside the first 15 minutes, Yasser Al Shahrani had side-footed wide from Carillo’s cross and Giovinco threatened from distance, shooting just wide. Giovinco forced goalkeeper Mehdi Rahmati into a top drawer save at the half-hour mark as Shahr Khodro had to weather an avalanche of Saudi attacks.
Kuala Lumpur: The 18th edition of the AFC Champions League gets underway on Monday with holders Al Hilal SFC among the teams in action on the opening day of what promises to be another magnificent journey through to November’s final.
As ever, their will be plenty of new faces on display, with a FIFA World Cup winner, an Iranian debutant and a long-awaited return among the-AFC.com’s five things to look out for on Matchday One.