AFC Champions League 2018: Group Stage Matchday One Preview: East Zone

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Asia's premier club competition is all set to commence in the East Zone on Tuesday...

The AFC Champions League 2018 is all set to start on Tuesday, with the East Zone matches getting underway. Here is a look at what awaits us this week: 


GROUP E


Alexandre Pato Tianjin Quanjian

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (KOR) v Kashiwa Reysol (JPN):

The first match in Group E will see former champions Jeonbuk Motors of South Korea hist Japan's Kashiwa Reysol. Jeonbuk Motors won the 2016 edition of the tournament but did not participate in last year's edition. Kashiwa Reysol, on the other hand, are also making a return to the compeition after missing two editions. It is set to be a battle of the powerhouses. 

Venue: Jeonju World Cup Stadium, Jeonju
Kick-off: February 13, 19:30 UTC+9

Tianjin Quanjian (CHN) v Kitchee SC (HKG): 

The second match in the group will see two debutants in the competition face off. Chinese Super League (CSL) side Tianjin Quanjian, who boast the likes of Alexandre Pato, Axel Witsel etc, will take on Hong Kong's Kitchee SC. 

Venue: Tianjin Olympic Center Stadium, Tianjin
Kick-off: February 13, 20:00 UTC+8


GROUP F


Shanghai SIPG vs Guangzhou Evergrande

Melbourne Victory (AUS) v Ulsan Hyundai (KOR): 

A-League side Melbourne Victory host 2012 champions Ulsan Hyundai from South Korea in their first Group F clash on Tuesday. With two strong teams in the group, a winning start will be very important for both teams in this match. 

Venue: Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, Melbourne
Kick-off: February 13, 19:30 UTC+11

Kawasaki Frontale (JPN) v Shanghai SIPG (CHN):

Japan's Kawasaki Frontale hosts China's Shanghai SIPG in the other Group F clash on Tuesday. Kawasaki Frontale and Shanghai SIPG had very good campaigns in the tournament last season but fell prey to eventual champions Urawa Red Diamonds in the knockout stages. This time, both teams will have set their eyes on progressing even further. 

Venue: Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium, Kawasaki
Kick-off: February 13, 19:00 UTC+9


GROUP G


Guangzhou Evergrande vs Shanghai SIPG

Guangzhou Evergrande (CHN) v Buriram United (THA): 

Two-time AFC Champions League winners Guangzhou Evergrande will open their 2018 campaign with a home game against Thailand's Buriram United on Wednesday. Guangzhou are now being managed by former Real Madrid defender Fabio Cannavaro while Buriram are seeking to progress from the group stage for just the second time. 

Venue: Tianhe Stadium, Guangzhou
Kick-off: February 14, 17:00 UTC+8

Jeju United (KOR) v Cerezo Osaka (JPN):

Last year's pre-quarter finalists Jeju United are home to Japan's Cerezo Osaka in their Group G opener. Cerezo Osaka are making their first appearance on the continent after 2014 and will be lookign to make their return to the competition memorable. 

Venue: Jeju World Cup Stadium, Seogwipo
Kick-off: February 14, 19:45 UTC+9


GROUP H


Kashima Antlers fans

Sydney FC (AUS) v Suwon Bluewings (KOR):

A-League side Sydney FC face South Korea's Suwon Bluewings in their Group G opener on Wednesday. The Australian champions face a tough proposition against the two-time champions from South Korea. 

Venue: Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney
Kick-off: February 14, 19:30 UTC+11

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Kashima Antlers (JPN) v Shanghai Shenhua (CHN):

China's Shanghai Shenhua will be making their first ever appearance in the competition since 2011 when they visit Japan to take on Kashima Antlers. The Japanese side, who finished second in the league, will be looking to start with a win against the Chinese FA Cup holders. 

Venue: Kashima Soccer Stadium, Kashima
Kick-off: February 14, 19:00 UTC+9

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