The East Asia Zone Preliminary Round 2 ties of the AFC Champions League 2020 concluded this week with the clubs now just one hurdle away from the group stages of the competition.
The Play-off Round of the ACL 2020 will be held on January 28 with eight teams left standing in the East Asia Zone and eight more to face each other in the West Asia side of the qualifiers.
Interestingly, three clubs from ASEAN have progressed from the Preliminary Round 2 to the Play-offs of the AFC Champions League 2020 and they now stand a chance to join 2019 Thai League 1 champions Chiangrai United and 2019 Malaysia Super League winners Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) — the two Southeast Asian sides who have already found a place in the group stages of ACL.
2019 Malaysia FA Cup winners Kedah FA defeated Hong Kong’s Tai Po FC 5-1 to enter the play-off round where they will now face K League third-place finishers FC Seoul at the Seoul World Cup Stadium in Korea Republic on January 28.
Meanwhile, Thai League 1 giants Buriram United, who are beginning their campaign in the preliminary stages after finishing runners-up in their domestic league last season, will face Chinese Super League giants Shanghai SIPG at the Yuanshen Sports Centre Stadium after overcoming Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City FC 2-1.
Philippines Football League winners Ceres-Negros FC — the third and final club from ASEAN in the play-offs — defeated Thai League outfit Port FC 1-0 in the second round of the preliminaries and now face a battle against J1 League 2019 runners-up FC Tokyo at the Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo.
Meanwhile, in the West Asia Zone play-off ties, UAE Pro-League outfit Al Ain FC will take on Uzbekistan’s FC Bunyodkor while Saudi Professional League giants Al Ahli Saudi FC host Tajik Super League outfit FC Istiklol.
Two Preliminary Round 2 ties — Shahr Khodro FC vs Riffa SC and Esteghlal FC vs Kuwait SC — were postponed for January 25 with the winner of the first game taking on Al Sailiya SC and the latter taking on Al Rayyan SC.
AFC Champions League 2020 – Play-off Round
EAST ASIA ZONE
January 28, 2020 – FC Seoul (Korea Republic) vs Kedah FA (Malaysia) – Seoul World Cup Stadium, Seoul
January 28, 2020 – Shanghai SIPG (China PR) vs Buriram United (Thailand) – Yuanshen Sports Centre Stadium, Shanghai
January 28, 2020 – FC Tokyo (Japan) vs Ceres–Negros FC (Philippines) – Ajinomoto Stadium, Tokyo
January 28, 2020 – Kashima Antlers (Japan) vs Melbourne Victory (Australia) – Kashima Soccer Stadium, Kashima
WEST ASIA ZONE
January 28, 2020 – Al Ain FC (United Arab Emirates) vs FC Bunyodkor (Uzbekistan) – Hazza bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain
January 28, 2020 – Al Ahli Saudi FC (Saudi Arabia) vs FC Istiklol (Tajikistan) – King Abdullah Sports City, Jeddah
January 28, 2020 – Al Sailiya SC (Qatar) vs Shahr Khodro FC (IR Iran) – Hamad bin Khalifa Stadium, Doha
January 28, 2020 – Al Rayyan SC (Qatar) vs Esteghlal FC (IR Iran) – Jassim bin Hamad Stadium, Doha