Action resumes in the Asian west

The AFC Champions League is set to return. The 2020 edition began in February, but only two rounds were played due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The remainder of the campaign will see 32 teams compete in a centralised format. In West Asia, all matches will be staged in Qatar across two weeks from 14-30 September, with 16 sides vying for a place in the final. In East Asia, the competition will only resume on 15 November.

All eyes will be on defending champions Al Hilal’s clash with Pakhtakor as the action restarts on Monday. previews everything you need to know about Asia’s prestigious continental club competition.

Qatar 2022 stadiums

All matches in West Asia will be staged in four stadiums across Qatar – three of which will host FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ matches, namely Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Khalifa International Stadium in Doha and Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan. The latter, in fact, saw its first official match played on 4 September with Al Sadd SC running out 5-1 winners over Al Kharaitiyat in the 2020/21 Qatar Stars League’s season opener.

Players to watch

Bafetimbi Gomis was the competition’s leading marksman last season, and he has three goals in two appearances this one – both Al Hilal victories. Hassan Al Haydos, who scored three times as Al Sadd opened up with two wins, is another to keep an eye on, while Al Nassr’s Moroccan striker Abderrazaq Hamdallah has excelled on both domestic and continental fronts this year, notably topping the Saudi Pro League scoring chart with 29 goals.

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