Preview: AFC Champions League qualifiers

There are four spots in the West Asia Zone up for grabs and a further four places on offer in the East Asia Zone.

West Asia Zone


Bunyodkor v Al Jazira

The winner of this tie between Bunyodkor of Uzbekistan and Al Jazira of the United Arab Emirates will join Al Nassr, Lekhwiya and Persepolis in Group A.

Bunyodkor head into the continental competition without the benefit of any domestic form, with the Uzbekistan league yet to kick off.

Al Jazira currently top the Arabian Gulf League on the basis of having scored more goals than Al Ain, with both teams level on 36 points. Eric Gerets' team head into the clash having registered a 7-1 hammering of Ajman last time out.


Naft Tehran v El Jaish

A place in Group B alongside Pakhtakor, Al Shabab and Al Ain awaits the winner of this tie.

Naft Tehran currently head the Persian Gulf Pro League, although they have played a game for than the three clubs who sit two points adrift. The men from Tehran have stuttered slightly of late, drawing three of their last four league matches.

El Jaish, runners-up in the Qatar Stars League last season, are currently nine points off the pace set by Al Sadd at the top of the league standings. Having won their last three league fixtures Sabri Lamouchi's team are hitting form at an important time. El Jaish booked their spot in the final qualifying phase with a 2-1 win over Al-Nahda of Oman.


Al Wahda v Al Sadd

Al Sadd travel to Abu Dhabi to face Al Wahda for a place in Group C with Foolad Khouzestan, Lokomotiv and Al Hilal.

Al Whada have churned out an indifferent run of results of late, with four defeats, a draw and five wins coming from their last 10 matches. However, there is reason to be optimistic that José Peseiro's side have found their way once more, with three of those victories coming in the last four matches.

Al Sadd have built a healthy nine-point advantage at the top of the Qatar Stars League standings, with 40 points from 17 games. The shock defeat to Al Shahaniya in December is Al Sadd's lone slip up in the league thus far.

It took a big effort for Al Sadd to progress to this point, seeing off Riffa 11-10 on penalties in last week's qualifier.


Al Ahli v Qadsia SC

The 2012 finalists Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia welcome Kuwait Premier League winners Qadsia SC to the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah as the two teams vie for a place in Group D alongside Al Ahli (UAE), Tractosazi Tabriz and Nasaf.

Al Ahli head into the clash on a four-match winning run, while they are unbeaten this season. They currently sit in second spot in the Pro League standings, four points behind Al Nassar.

Qadsia are second in the Kuwait Premier League and are on a five-match winning run in all competitions, including last week's qualifying win over Al-Wehdat.



East Asia Zone


Central Coast Mariners v Guangzhou R&F

The winners of this tie will be pooled in Group F with Gamba Osaka, Seongnam FC and Buriram.

The Mariners are enduring an indifferent run in this season's A-League and are currently languishing in eighth spot in the 10-team league. Phil Moss' side head into the match having lost to 2-0 at home to the Brisbane Roar last time out, their eighth defeat in 17 league matches.

The Chinese league season is yet to commence, so there is little form to read into as far as Guangzhou R&F are concerned, with last week's Preliminary Round Two victory over Warriors a good start to the campaign.


Kashiwa Reysol v Chonburi

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, Shandong Luneng and Binh Duong will be joined in Group E by one of Kashiwa Reysol of Japan or Chonburi of Thailand.

The J.League season has yet to get underway, so Tatsuma Yoshida's team are a little short on competitive action heading into this fixture.

The Thai Premier League kicked off on Friday, and Chonburi registered a confidence-boosting 5-1 over Saraburi. Chonburi saw off Kitchee of Hong Kong in their first last qualifying match.


Beijing Guoan v Bangkok Glass

A spot in Group G alongside Brisbane Roar, Urawa Red Diamonds and Suwon Samsung awaits the winner of this encounter.

Like Guangzhou R&F, Beijing Guoan have yet to engage in any league action this season, with the next installment of the Chinese Super League only getting underway in March.

While the Thai Premier League started last week Bangkok Glass were not in action, with their opening league fixture only scheduled for Sunday. However, they do have a 3-0 win over Johor Darul Ta'zim in the previous qualifying round to their name.


FC Seoul v Hanoi T&T

Defending champions West Sydney Wanderers will line up in Group H with Guangzhou Evergrande, Kashima Antlers and either FC Seoul or Hanoi T&T.

The new K League season begins in early March, with FC Seoul heading to Ulsan in their opening fixture.

Hanoi T&T disposed of Persib Bandung 4-1 in Premilimary Round Two, and will be hopeful of keeping their winning run going when they head to Seoul. They don't have the best of league records at present though, having won just two of their opening seven league fixtures.