AFC Champions League 2018: Quarterfinals Preview - First leg

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Who will gain an advantage in the first leg of the quarter-finals of the AFC Champions League....

The AFC Champions League 2018 quarterfinals are about to commence. Here is a look at what awaits us in a crucial week with the first leg action set to unfold: 


Esteghlal (IRN) v Al Sadd (QAT)


Iran's Esteghlal are at home to Qatar's swash-buckling Al Sadd on Monday in the first leg of the AFC Champions League quarter-finals. 

Esteghlal are two-time champions but are making it to the quarter-finals for only the fourth time. However, they are unbeaten in the tournament so far and will pose a challenge for Al Sadd who have been in good form. They won a strong Group D ahead of Al Ain, Al Hilal and Al Rayyan, before overcoming domestic rivals Zobahan in the Round of 16. With several new arrivals and departures, Esteghlal look a much-changed side. 

Al Sadd are the last club from the West to win the trophy but will be looking to win it again, thanks to the presence of stalwarts like Xavi. They got the better of Al Ahli in the Round of 16 and will be slight favourites going into this tie. 

Venue: Azadi Stadium, Tehran
Kick-off: August 27, 20:30 UTC+4:30


Al Duhail (QAT) v Persepolis (IRN)


Qatari outfit Al Duhail are up against Iran's Persepolis in their AFC Champions League quarter-final first leg clash on Tuesday. 

Al Duhail are on a scintillating run of form. They have all eight of their games in the tournament so far and if they win on Tuesday, will equal the record of 2012 winners Ulsan Hyundai’s nine straight victories.

Persepolis, coming after a dramatic victory over UAE's Al Jazira in the Round of 16 will give them a run for their money. It is set to be a promising clash. 

Venue: Khalifa International Stadium, Doha
Kick-off: August 28, 18:30 UTC+3


Kashima Antlers (JPN) v Tianjin Quanjian (CHN)


Japanese outfit Kashima Antlers will welcome China's Tianjin Quanjian on Tuesday for their ACL first leg quarter-final clash. 

Kashima Antlers progressed past the group stages as runners-up before defeating Shanghai SIPG in the Round of 16 to reach this stage. Another win and they will reach their first ever semifinal. 

Their opponents, Tianjin Quanjian, are making their debut in the tournament and have done well to reach this stage. With players like Alexandre Pato in form, they are serious contenders for the throne. 

Venue: Kashima Soccer Stadium, Kashima
Kick-off: August 28, 19:00 UTC+9


Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (KOR) v Suwon Samsung Bluewings (KOR)


South Korea's Jeonbuk Motors play hosts to compatriots Suwon Bluewings on Wednesday in their AFC Champions League quarter-final first leg tie. 

Jeonbuk have been one of the most in-form sides in this tournament and are yet to drop points at home. They won five out of six in the group stage before reversing a deficit in the Round of 16 against Buriram United. 

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Suwon, meanwhile, are appearing in their first quarter-final since 2011 after winning Group H and then next coming from behind to oust countrymen Ulsan Hyundai in the Round of 16. The all-Korean affair should see sparks fly. 

Venue: Jeonju World Cup Stadium, Jeonju
Kick-off: August 29, 19:00 UTC+9


 

 

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