AFC Champions League matchday 5; Group C,D preview
Kuala Lumpur: As the group stage of the 2017 AFC Champions League now enters its latter stages, Matchday Five is sure to see another pulsating set of fixtures with the 16 teams from the West Zone returning to action on Monday.
Al Ahli and Zobahan will book their passages to the knockout phase should they claim away victories at Bunyodkor and Al Ain respectively on Monday.
Saudi side Al Ahli lead the way in Group C with eight points from four games following back-to-back draws with 2016 runners-up Al Ain. Return to winning ways against a Bunyodkor team who have yet to register a point on route to an early elimination and their place in the next round is confirmed.
Expect drama in Isfahan as Zobahan, who moved into second place following successive wins over Bunyodkor, could oust one of the tournament favourites if they defeat Al Ain and Al Ahli are victorious in Tashkent. The Emiratis have now drawn three from four but a second away win of the competition would put them back in the driving seat.
Bunyodkor (UZB) v Al Ahli (KSA) PREVIEW Venue: Bunyodkor Stadium, Tashkent Kick-off: April 24, 19:00 UTC+5
Zobahan (IRN) v Al Ain (UAE) PREVIEW Venue: Foolad Shahr Stadium, Isfahan Kick-off: April 24, 20:30 UTC+4:30
Three teams are battling it out for two qualification spots in Group D as table-toppers Al Hilal face third-placed Persepolis and second-placed Al Rayyan travel to bottom side Al Wahda.
Al Hilal drew 1-1 with Persepolis on Matchday One and will seal their last 16 berth with victory on Monday, but should Persepolis overcome their Saudi opponents the sides will head into the final round of fixtures in two weeks’ time level on eight points.
If Persepolis fail to defeat Al Hilal, Al Rayyan would also advance with a win, while confirming Al Wahda’s elimination, but anything other than three points could leave the Qatari side in for a nervy Matchday Six.
Al Hilal (KSA) v Persepolis (IRN) PREVIEW Venue: Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex, Muscat Kick-off: April 24, 19:00 UTC+4
Al Wahda (UAE) v Al Rayyan (QAT) PREVIEW Venue: Al Nahyan Stadium, Abu Dhabi Kick-off: April 24, 19:35 UTC+4
Photo: Lagardere Sports