Central and South Asian Wrap: Alay back on top in Kyrgyz Republic, goal fests in Uzbekistan Cup.
Bishkek: Seven of the region’s biggest clubs are flying the Central Asian flag in the AFC Champions League but the show must go on at home, and there has been no shortage of action over the past week.
In this week’s wrap, a title race for the ages builds in Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan’s challengers scramble for position in the absence of FC Istiklol, and Uzbekistan’s Cup group stage takes shape, plus the latest from Islamic Republic of Iran and Maldives.
Join the-AFC.com for all the key news and results from Istaravshan to Isafahan.
Preview - Group B: Sharjah target victory against Air Force Club to zoom in on AFC Champions League Round of 16 spot
Sharjah: Group B hosts Sharjah FC will be hoping to repeat their Matchday One win over Air Force Club of Iraq on Monday as they look to extend their unbeaten run in the 2021 AFC Champions League to five matches.
Victory against Air Force Club will go a long way in taking Sharjah closer to the Round of 16, as it would move them to 11 points. In fact, should Islamic Republic of Iran's Tractor FC fail to beat Pakhtakor of Uzbekistan in the group's earlier tie on Monday, a Sharjah win over Air Force Club will book them their last 16 ticket with a match to spare.
Preview - Group B: No room for mistakes for Tractor, Pakhtakor in AFC Champions League showdown
Sharjah: Pakhtakor’s hopes of qualification to the 2021 AFC Champions League Round of 16 stage hinge on their ability to get the three points when they face Tractor FC on Matchday Four of Group B on Monday.
Quarter-finalists last year, Pakhtakor are yet to get their first win of the 2021 campaign, collecting three points from their first four games. Yet another setback will consign the Uzbek champions to group stage elimination.
Tractor are in a slightly better position, sitting second on six points - two behind UAE's Sharjah - but will also need a win to keep their hopes of clinching the sole automatic ticket to the Round of 16.
Preview - Group D: Al Wehdat out to derail Al Nassr's AFC Champions League ambitions
Riyadh: Saudi Arabia's Al Nassr must produce their best once again when they play Al Wehdat of Jordan on Monday's Matchday Five if they are to maintain a grip on top spot in Group D of the 2021 AFC Champions League.
Al Nassr lead the group with eight points, one ahead of Qatar's Al Sadd while Al Wehdat are at the bottom of the standings with a solitary point and out of the running for the Round of 16. Foolad Khouzestan FC, meanwhile, are third on five points and still in the running to advance.
Preview - Group D: Foolad Khouzestan, Al Sadd in challenge to stay on course in AFC Champions League
Riyadh: Foolad Khouzestan FC and Al Sadd SC will face off in a vital Matchday Five clash on Monday, with defeat not an option for either side in the race to win top spot in Group D of the 2021 AFC Champions League.
Back-to-back wins for Al Sadd against Jordan's Al Wehdat saw the Qataris jump up to second place in Group D with seven points, one adrift of leaders Al Nassr of Saudi Arabia.
Islamic Republic of Iran's Foolad are third on five points and need to win their final two matches to stand a chance of advancing.
Preview - Group E: Al Rayyan SC, FC Goa in chase of maiden AFC Champions League win
Goa: Al Rayyan of Qatar and India's FC Goa will look to register their first win in the 2021 AFC Champions League when they square off in Group E at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Monday.
It has been yet another difficult campaign for Al Rayyan, with the Qatar club failing to advance to the Round of 16 at the 10th time of trying. Fc Goa, meanwhile, have relished taking on some of Asia's biggest teams in their debut campaign despite it having been a steep learning curve.