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West Zone braced for AFC Champions League Round of 16 first legs

Published on: 21 May 2017

Kuala Lumpur: After the conclusion of the 2017 AFC Champions League Group Stage, the competition moves swiftly on to the knockout phase with the first legs of the Round of 16 in the West taking place on Monday and Tuesday.

With eight teams from the region now departed, the remaining eight are left to battle it out for quarter-final places and, ahead of four mouthwatering clashes, the margin for error has been reduced significantly.

West Zone

Esteghlal v Al Ain

One of the standout fixtures of the first knockout round sees Group A runners-up Esteghlal host Group C winners Al Ain on Monday as the Iranian team get set to take part in their first knockout stage encounter since 2013.

Esteghlal’s return to the competition after a three-year hiatus saw a largely impressive group stage campaign but the Iranian side will face their toughest test to date when 2016 runners-up Al Ain, who remain unbeaten, visit Tehran.

Esteghlal (IRN) v Al Ain (UAE)
Venue: Azadi Stadium, Tehran
Kick-off: May 22, 20:45 UTC+4:30

Al Ahli (KSA) v Al Ahli (UAE)

Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli will take on namesakes Al Ahli of the United Arab Emirates on Monday with both teams participating in their first Round of 16 clash in two years.

The Saudi side needed a 2-0 Matchday Six win over Zobahan to advance to the knockout stage as Group C runners-up, while their Emirati opponents comfortably saw off Lokomotiv 4-0 to claim top spot in Group A.

Al Ahli (KSA) v Al Ahli (UAE)
Venue: King Abdullah Sports City, Jeddah
Kick-off: May 22, 20:45 UTC+3

Persepolis v Lekhwiya

Persepolis will welcome Lekhwiya to Azadi Stadium on Tuesday looking to make it fourth time lucky in the Round of 16 after being eliminated in each of their three previous appearances.

The hosts’ tournament-leading scorer Mehdi Taremi has netted seven times, including a Matchday Six hat-trick against Al Wahda to seal second place in Group D, but unbeaten Lekhwiya provide a stern test after the Qatari team breezed through to the last 16 on top of Group B.

Persepolis (IRN) v Lekhwiya (QAT)
Venue: Azadi Stadium, Tehran
Kick-off: May 23, 19:30 UTC+4:30

Esteghlal Khouzestan v Al Hilal

Tournament debutants Esteghlal Khouzestan make their Round of 16 bow on Tuesday when they take on an Al Hilal side appearing at this stage of the competition for the ninth successive time.

Esteghlal Khouzestan proved tough to beat in advancing as Group B runners-up with only one loss to their name, while Group D winners Al Hilal have yet to taste defeat and progressed to the knockout stage with a game to spare.

Esteghlal Khouzestan (IRN) v Al Hilal (KSA)
Venue: Seeb Sports Complex, Muscat
Kick-off: May 23, 20:00 UTC+4

Photos: Lagardère Sports


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