Guangzhou: After being eliminated by Chinese opposition in the past two AFC Champions League campaigns, Guangzhou Evergrande captain Zheng Zhi has admitted the two-time winners cannot allow history to repeat itself.
The Chinese Super League side, who were ousted by Shanghai SIPG in 2017 and Tianjin Quanjian (now Tianjin Tianhai) last year, find themselves paired with domestic rivals once more as Shandong Luneng visit Tianhe Stadium on Tuesday for the first leg of the Round of 16.
Guangzhou have won three from three at home in the competition, but have yet to win away, so will be desperate for another positive result ahead of what has the potential to be a nervy affair in Jinan next week.
Preview - Round of 16: Kashima Antlers (JPN) v Sanfrecce Hiroshima (JPN)
Ibaraki: For the first time since 2011, there will be an all-Japan tie in the AFC Champions League Round of 16 when title holders Kashima Antlers host countrymen Sanfrecce Hiroshima in the first leg on Tuesday.
The form team in the 2019 AFC Champions League visits the holders at Kashima Soccer Stadium in what is sure to be a fascinating clash of countrymen.
Sanfrecce arrive in Ibaraki Prefecture on the back of five consecutive AFC Champions League victories, their best run of results in the Continental competition.
This will be only their second appearance in the knockout stages, having lost to eventual winners Western Sydney Wanderers in the 2014 edition.
Preview - Round of 16: Guangzhou Evergrande FC (CHN) vs Shandong Luneng FC (CHN)
Guangzhou: For the second year in a row two-time AFC Champions League winners Guangzhou Evergrande will face their compatriots in the Round of 16 as Shandong Luneng travel to southern China for their first leg meeting on Tuesday.
Guangzhou needed a Matchday Six victory over Korea Republic’s Daegu FC to confirm their place in the knockout rounds for the seventh time in eight years after advancing as Group F runners-up. They go into the match, however, having been eliminated by Chinese opposition in each of the past two campaigns.
Making their return to the tournament for the first time since 2016, Shandong progressed from Group E with minimal fuss, winning three and drawing two of their first five games to seal a spot in the last 16 with a game to spare.
Kuala Lumpur: The 2019 AFC Champions League returns this week, with the eight sides in the East Zone taking to the field for the first legs of their Round of 16 fixtures.
With five former champions – including the previous four winners – and a pair of same-country clashes, there is plenty to whet the appetite, so the-AFC.com has picked out five things to look out for ahead of the action.
Nagaki: Kashima need to raise their game after 'unstable' Group Stage performances
Ibaraki: Kashima Antlers midfielder Ryota Nagaki admits that the defending champions will need to improve if they wish to keep their AFC Champions League defence going into the quarter-finals ahead of Tuesday's Round of 16 meeting with Sanfrecce Hiroshima.
The holders grip on their Asian crown was close to slipping off completely in the Group Stage of the 2019 edition, but a come-from-behind win over China PR's Shandong Luneng on Matchday Six saw Kashima of Japan extend their stay on the Continental throne until at least the Round of 16.
However, defeating countrymen Sanfrecce and remaining among the final eight will require the Ibaraki club to lift their performances according to Nagaki.
Kim Shin-wook expects tight contest with 'more experienced' Shanghai SIPG
Shanghai: Wednesday's AFC Champion League Round of 16 clash between the champions of Korea Republic and China PR is a repeat of the 2016 quarter-finals, but Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors striker Kim Shin-wook expects a much tighter outcome this time around.
Shanghai SIPG's maiden appearance in the AFC Champions League three years ago was ended in comprehensive fashion when they came up against eventual winners Jeonbuk in the last eight.
After a goalless draw at Shanghai Stadium, the K-League side turned on the style to defeat their Chinese Super League visitors 5-0 in Jeonju to sail into the semi-finals.