The road to 2020 AFC Champions League glory is a little clearer for the four remaining East zone contenders, who discovered their quarter-final opponents in the knockout stage draw at Education City Stadium on Tuesday.
Ulsan Hyundai FC were drawn to play Beijing FC in the first of Thursday’s quarter-finals, while Vissel Kobe will meet Suwon Samsung Bluewings, with both matches to be held at the state-of-the-art All Janoub Stadium in Doha.
The winner from the semifinal in Doha will play the final of the AFC Champions League, West Zone champion side Persepolis of Iran at Al Janoub Stadium on December 19.
The Deputy Director of the AFC Competitions Committee Avaz Berdikulov conducted the draw in the presence of the coaches of the four teams competing in the quarter-finals of the AFC Champions League East Zone.
Korea Republic’s Ulsan Hyundai FC have been in impressive form in the AFC Champions League with a six-match winning streak since touching down in Doha, advancing to the quarter-finals for the first since winning the title in 2012.
China PR’s Beijing FC, having set a club record of a seven-match unbeaten run by beating FC Tokyo to end a sequence of Round of 16 defeats in 2010, 2013, and 2015, will now target a semi-final berth after sealing a spot in the quarter-finals for the first time.
Japan’s Vissel Kobe will also be in uncharted territory as they marked their debut AFC Champions League campaign by beating China PR’s Shanghai SIPG to advance to the quarter-finals.
Suwon Samsung Bluewings, who won back-to-back Asian Club Championships in 2000-01 and 2001-02, reached the quarter-finals after fighting back from going a goal behind to defeat Japan’s Yokohama F. Marinos 3-2 on Monday as they set their eyes on reaching the last four stage, having last done so in 2018.
Meanwhile the coaches and players of participating clubs have heaped praise on the organisation and facilities offered by the host nation Qatar.