The AFC Champions League (ACL) will restart on September 14, announced the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), ending a halt to the Asian elite clubs competition caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
The last game of the group stage to have been played was a Group G 2-2 draw between Sydney FC and South Korea’s Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in Australia on March 4.
All remaining group fixtures of the West and East zones will be centralized in venues, yet to be confirmed by the Asian football governing body.
Meanwhile, all knockout rounds – to start on September 26 – will now consist of single-match ties (rather than two-legged fixtures), as well as the final of the competition which is scheduled for December 5.
The Iranian clubs in the competition will be hoping to bounce back from a disappointing start to their campaigns when they will be back in action in the third round of the group matches.
Two-time champion Esteghlal – now third in Group A – will eye a turnaround to its fortunes when facing second-placed Al Wahda of the UAE on Sept. 14, while on the same day, Shahr Khodro – bottom of Group B with two defeats – will make a last-ditch effort for a top-two finish against Shabab Al Ahli Dubai.
In Group C, third-placed Persepolis will be after a first victory in the competition against group leader Al Taawoun FC of Saudi Arabia on September 15, with Sepahan – the only Iranian side to have claimed a win – taking on Saudi side Al Nassr in Group D.