AFC – KUALA LUMPUR, The 2021 AFC Champions League (West) Round of 16 cast was finalised following the conclusion of the Group Stage on Friday.
As Groups A and C brought the thrilling group stage to a close on Friday, the West Round of 16 cast saw several of the continent’s biggest club sides missing out with Qatar’s Al Sadd SC and Al Duhail SC and Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli Saudi FC among those who exited the tournament.
The Round of 16 (West) match-ups will see Tajikistan’s FC Istiklol taking on Islamic Republic of Iran’s Persepolis FC, Sharjah playing Al Wahda FSCC in an all-UAE affair, Islamic Republic of Iran’s Esteghlal facing 2019 champions Al Hilal SFC of Saudi Arabia and Al Nassr of Saudi Arabia squaring off against Iran’s Tractor FC.
Istiklol capped a dream debut AFC Champions League campaign by finishing top of Group A, edging 2019 winners Al Hilal who, however, advanced as one of the three best runners-up from the five West groups.
Sharjah of the United Arab Emirates, who ended their group stage campaign with 11 points, advanced as the Group B winners with second-placed Tractor FC of Iran also going through.
Group C saw Esteghlal taking the sole ticket, with the Iran side finishing top with 11 points as Al Duhail and Al Ahli Saudi FC both crashed out.
Group D was topped by 2020 AFC Champions League semi-finalists Al Nassr, with the Saudi Pro League side’s two wins over Al Sadd proving crucial in their final haul of 11 points.
Iran’s Persepolis FC, the runners-up in 2018 and 2020, won Group E with a haul of 15 points, with UAE’s Al Wahda also advancing as one of the three best runners-up.
The Round of 16 and quarter-finals are scheduled to be played as single leg affairs in September.
The semi-finals and final will be contested on a home and away basis, with the last four ties scheduled for October and the final in November.