Kuala Lumpur: With the 2019 AFC Champions set to return in just a few days time, the striking thing about the Round of 16 encounters is that half of them feature sides from the same country going head-to-head.
In the East, defending champions Kashima Antlers are tasked with fellow J.League team Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Chinese duo Guangzhou Evergrande and Shandong Luneng will also lock horns.
On the other side of the Continent, meanwhile, Qatari powerhouses Al Sadd and Al Duhail face off, while there is also an intriguing Riyadh–Jeddah clash between rivals Al Hilal and Al Ahli. Both matches, however, will not take place until August.
Ahead of the ties, the-AFC.com looks back on five other times the last 16 has pitted clubs from the same domestic league against one another.
Kuala Lumpur: In just a few days, Shanghai SIPG will take to the AFC Champions League knockout rounds for the fourth successive year as the last 16 clash against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors sees them maintain their perfect record of advancing from the group stage every time since debuting in 2016.
It has been a remarkable rise for a club that only arrived in China’s top flight in 2013 and have since gone on to to acquire talent of the calibre of Hulk and Oscar, the Brazilian duo who helped inspire them to their maiden Chinese Super League title in 2018 after three successive top-three finishes.
Arguably, however, no one has been more important in their surge to prominence than Wu Lei, who was the league’s top scorer last year before he signed for La Liga side Espanyol at the beginning of 2019 where he has since gone on to become the first player from his country to score in Spain’s top flight.