Kuala Lumpur, August 20, 2013: AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa is looking forward to a thrilling knockout stage of the AFC Champions League which will resume after a three-month hiatus on Wednesday.
The first leg of the quarter-finals matches are taking place in different parts of the continent on Wednesday.
“The long wait of almost three months is over and we are primed for the knockout stage of the elite club competition of the continent again,” he said.
ACL 2012 runners-up Al Ahli are up against FC Seoul – the only Korean side remaining in the competition while Qatar’s ever improving Lekhwiya travel to meet Chinese heavyweight Guangzhou Evergrande who are seeking to get past the quarters for the first time in their history.
“It is remarkable that the quarter-finals are well spread over the entire continent with representation from South East Asia’s Buriram United from Thailand and the South and Central Asia’s Iranian club Esteghlal.”
There is a guaranteed place for either South or Central Asia or South East Asia in the semi-final after a long period of time as Buriram United will travel to Tehran to face Esteghlal. Japan’s Emperor’s Cup winners Kashiwa Reysol will host Al Shabab of Saudi Arabia and the return legs are scheduled in four week’s time.
“I would like to express my profound wishes to all the participating clubs in the quarter-finals. I am anticipating good and exciting matches and I am personally looking forward to watching a few matches as well.” add Shaikh Salman. —- AFC