AFC Champions League 2018: Round of 16 First Leg Preview: West Zone

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AFC Champions League action enters the knockout stages as the teams vie to enter the quarterfinals...

The AFC Champions League 2018 enters the knockout stages in the West Zone on Monday. Here is a look at what awaits us in a crucial week: 


Al Jazira (UAE) v Persepolis (IRN)


Persepolis v Al Wasl; AFC Champions League 2018

Al Jazira return to the knockout stages of the tournament for the first time since 2014 after finishing second in Group A, having edged out Qatar's Al Gharafa. However, their opponents on Monday is the consistent Persepolis who finished top of Group C after they leapfrogged Al Sadd towards the end of the group. 

This would be the first-ever meeting between the two sides and Al Jazira have their task cut out, given that Persepolis have not conceded a goal since a Matchday Two defeat to Al Sadd in Qatar

Venue: Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Kick-off: May 7, 19:30 UTC+4

 

Al Sadd (QAT) v Al Ahli (KSA)


Al Sadd v Persepolis; AFC Champions League

Qatar's Al Sadd take on Saudi Arabia's Al Ahli in the second West Zone Round of 16 fixture. Al Sadd are the 2011 champions and will take on Al Ahli, the 2012 runners-up, for the third time in this competition. 

Al Sadd faced little trouble qualifying to the knockout stages from Group C but were pipped to the top spot by Persepolis. Al Ahli, meanwhile, were unbeaten as they won four and drew two matches to qualify. It promises to be an enthralling affair. 

Venue: Jassim bin Hamad Stadium, Doha
Kick-off: May 7, 19:15 UTC+3
 


Zobahan (IRN) v Esteghlal (IRN)


Al Ain v Esteghlal; AFC Champions League

It's an Iranian derby in the knockout stages as Zobahan take on Esteghlal in an intriguing clash on Tuesday. Zobahan finished second in Group B after edging out Uzbek side Lokomotiv while Esteghlal were unbeaten through their group stage phase. 

Esteghlal qualified with a game to spare from Group D and will now be relishing a first-ever AFC Champions League meeting with their domestic rivals. 

Venue: Foolad Shahr Stadium, Isfahan
Kick-off: May 8, 19:15 UTC+4:30
 


Al Ain (UAE) v Al Duhail (QAT)


Al Wahda v Al Duhail; AFC Champions League

In what promises to be an exciting match-up, Qatar's Al Duhail take on UAE's Al Ain on Tuesday in the first leg. Both teams are unbeaten in the tournament but took contrasting routes to reach this stage.

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While Al Ain had to wait until the final matchday to defeat Al Rayyan and book their spot, Al Duhail won all their games and coasted to the top of Group B. It should be an interesting matchup. 

Venue: Hazza bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain
Kick-off: May 8, 20:10 UTC+4

 

 

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