AFC Champions League 2017: Quarterfinals second leg preview

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The second legs of the Round of Eight clashes in Asia's premier club competition are about to commence. Who will reach the final four?

The best eight teams left in the AFC Champions League 2017 will be plotting strategies to book a spot in the final four this week as the second legs of the two-legged ties get underway. While those who were dealt setbacks in the first legs will be readying themselves to hit back, the teams with advantages will be eager to finish the job and advance in the competition. What does this week have in store for us? 


AL HILAL (KSA) v AL AIN (UAE)


Al Ain vs Al Hilal

After a goalless tie in the first leg in UAE, the AFC Champions League quarterfinal between Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal and UAE's Al Ain is finely poised ahead of the second leg on Monday. The two heavyweights played out a strangely goalless draw in the first leg and will know there can be no mistakes in the second leg. 

While Al Hilal have the advantage of playing at home, they know that if Al Ain manages to get a goal the away goal factor might make things extremely difficult for themselves. But Al Hilal have not been defeated in the tournament yet and they will be confident of keeping things like that. But they need to tighten up their defence which will be tested by the likes of Al Ain's Omar Abdulrahman. They will need their striker Carlos Eduardo and Nawaf Al Abed to be in good form as well. 

Al Ain, on the other hand, know that they have a tough task on their hands to come out victors in Saudi Arabia. Coach Zoran Mamic will be hoping his forward line fires and gets them a vital away goal. 

Venue: King Fahd International Stadium, Riyadh
Kick-off: September 11, 20:00 UTC+3:00


GUANGZHOU EVERGRANDE FC (CHN) v SHANGHAI SIPG FC (CHN)


Andre-Villas Boas; Shanghai SIPG manager

Luiz Felipe Scolari's Guangzhou Evergrande side have an unenviable task on their hands when the second leg of their AFC Champions League quarterfinal gets underway in Guangzhou on Tuesday. 

Shanghai SIPG thrashed Guangzhou Evergrande 4-0 in the first leg - a result which almost renders this tie irrelevant unless Scolari's side can pull off the unthinkable. Against a strong Shanghai side, such a thought seems a bit far-fetched and it seems like Andre Villas-Boas' team already have a spot nailed down in the semifinal. Guangzhou Evergrande, however, should try to get a positive result in this tie and hope Shanghai get nervous and hands them a way back into the tie. 

Shanghai SIPG, with the likes of Hulk, Wu Lei and Oscar in their ranks, will be supremely confident of putting the tie to bed and book passage to the last four. 

Venue: Tianhe Stadium , Guangzhou
Kick-off: September 12, 17:30 UTC+5:30


AL AHLI FC (KSA) v PERSEPOLIS FC (IRN)


Persepolis vs Lekhwiya

The stage is set for an entertaining AFC Champions League quarter-final second leg between Iran's Persepolis FC and Saudi Arabia's Al Ahli FC on Tuesday after the first leg result left the tie on tenterhooks. 

The 2-2 draw in Muscat meant that Al Ahli have the luxury of two away goals scored which means they will qualify with a draw (either 0-0 or 1-1) or an outright win. Persepolis, on the other hand, need a high scoring draw (3-3 or higher) or a win to keep their Asian dream alive. The Saudi Arabian team are the favourites from this tie to progress to the final four but as we have seen, Persepolis is a persistent team. 

The Iranians will take heart from the fact that they battled back from 2 goals down to earn a draw in the first leg and will try to take that confidence forward to the second leg and hope their star player Mehdi Taremi strikes a vital blow for them.

Venue: Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Kick-off: September 12, 20:45 UTC+5:30


URAWA RED DIAMONDS (JPN) v KAWASAKI FRONTALE (JPN)


Yu Kobayashi; Kawasaki Frontale vs Muangthong United

In the battle of the Japanese heavyweights in the AFC Champions League quarterfinals, it is Kawasaki Frontale who hold the advantage going into the second leg at Saitama. 

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After a 3-1 win at home, thanks to a splendid performance from Yu Kobayashi, Kawasaki Frontale are red hot favourites to hold off Urawa Red Diamonds and progress to the semifinals. Kawasaki Frontale are unbeaten in the tournament so far and are peaking at the right moment. Their forward line is firing and the defence looks good. They would be supremely confident of maintaining their two-goal cushion and winning the tie. 

Urawa Red Diamonds, on the other hand, have it in them to overhaul the scoreline. In fact, a 2-0 win should be enough for them to go through. But they have been inconsistent at times and will need an almighty effort to thwart a strong Kawasaki Frontale. 

Venue: Saitama Stadium 2002, Saitama
Kick-off: September 13, 16:00 UTC+5:30

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