Villach: Al Hilal SFC’s pre-season tour of Europe ended in fine fashion on Wednesday as two separate sides representing the Saudi giants secured impressive victories.
In the day’s earlier game, Jonathan Soriano’s brace along with goals from Mohammed Al Shalhoub, Nasser Al Dawsari, Omar Khrbin, Hatan Bahbri and Ahmad Sharaf saw a largely second-string Al Hilal side run out 7-1 winners against NK Brine Grosuplje who play in Slovenia’s third tier.
Ibaraki: Kashima Antlers will be targeting revenge when they face Guangzhou Evergrande in the quarter-finals of the 2019 AFC Champions League, with Shoma Doi determined to turn the tables on the Chinese side following elimination by the same opponents in the 2017 edition.
Doi played in both legs when Kashima slid out at the Round of 16 phase at the hands of the Chinese Super League club – and two-time AFC Champions League winners – as Antlers continued a dismal record of failing to advance to the last eight for the fourth time since 2009.
But, with their confidence since boosted by their first-ever title win last year, Doi is convinced he and his teammates can avenge that loss and keep alive their dream of claiming back-to-back AFC Champions League crowns.
Serial winner Xavi targets more success with Al Sadd SC
Doha: Spain and Barcelona great Xavi has declared that he is looking to repeat the incredible success he enjoyed as a player in his new role as head coach of Qatar giants Al Sadd SC.
The two-time FIFA World Cup winner retired from competitive football in May following a stellar career which also saw him claim a plethora of Spanish La Liga and UEFA Champions League crowns.
Having bowed out on a high thanks to 2018-19 Qatar Stars League title success as a player with Al Sadd, the 39-year-old is adamant that his thirst for silverware remains the same as his charges prepare for a new domestic campaign and knockout stage action in the 2019 AFC Champions League.
Kuala Lumpur: One of the striking things about the 2019 AFC Champions League knockout rounds is the number of former Continental champions still in with a chance of glory.
Ahead of the Round of 16, the quartet of Guangzhou Evergrande, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, Kashima Antlers and Urawa Red Diamonds in the East Zone had all won the coveted trophy, while in the West, Saudi Arabia’s Al Ittihad and Al Sadd had done likewise.
With two-time winners Jeonbuk having now departed, there are five former AFC Champions League winners still in the mix. Three of those sides, meanwhile, will look to create history by becoming the first team to lift the trophy on three occasions – the-AFC.com takes a closer look at the trio.