By Sports Reporter/Doha
Qatar Stars League (QSL) side El Jaish have been drawn against UAE’s Al Nasr in the quarter-finals of the AFC Champions League. The draw was made at the AFC headquarters in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
El Jaish will play first-time quarter-finalists Al Nasr in the first leg on August 24 in the UAE, with the return match taking place on September 14 in Qatar. Jaish will be hoping to continue their good run in the competition, which has so far seen them top their group and knock out local rivals Lekhiwya in the round of sixteen.
In other matches, bookmakers’ favourites Shanghai SIPG, managed by former England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, have been drawn against South Korea’s Jeonbuk Motors, who won the trophy in 2006.
FC Seoul, the other South Korean team in the last eight, have been drawn against China’s Shandong Luneng, who edged past Sydney FC in the previous round and announced former Bayern Munich boss Felix Magath as their new coach this week. In the remaining game, Abu Dhabi’s Al Ain, champions in 2003, take on Uzbekistan’s Lokomotiv.
Eriksson’s Shanghai, who needed a stoppage-time strike to edge out FC Tokyo on away goals to progress, will have their work cut out against free-scoring Jeonbuk, who have netted 16 goals in the tournament so far, one less than Seoul. Shanghai host Jeobunk in the first leg on August 23.
Seoul needed penalties to get past Urawa Red Diamonds in the previous round and will hope the tournament’s top scorer with 11 goals, Carlos Adriano, will continue his fine form when they host Shandong in the first leg on August 24.
Al Ain will need to breach the tightest defence once again, having knocked out Zob Ahan in the round of 16, when they face Lokomotiv, who have conceded just four times so far.
El Jaish will bank on talismanic strike duo Hamed-Allah Abderrazzaq and Romarinho Ricardo, who have scored 10 of the club’s 12 goals in the competition, to end Al-Nasr’s Champions League dreams.
Having only made their AFC Champions League debut in 2012, Al Nasr are making their third appearance in the tournament in the past five seasons but this year marks the first time they have made it out of the group stage.
Despite the Emirati outfit only claiming nine points from their six games in Group A, it was enough to see them finish in second place above Saudi Arabia’s Al Ittihad thanks to their head-to-head record.
The Round of 16 then saw them claim a commanding 4-1 lead over Tractorsazi Tabriz of Iran, although a 3-1 defeat in the return encounter did mean they had to endure a few nervous moments before securing their place in the last eight.
Qatar’s El Jaish had to secure a place in Asia’s premier club competition the hard way by having to beat Naft Tehran 2-0 in the play-off stage. After victories in their first three outings, they went without a win in the remainder of the group stage but had still done enough to advance as winners of Group D.
Next up for them was a last-16 clash with fellow QSL side Lekhwiya and they eventually progressed with a 6-4 aggregate triumph, winning the initial encounter 4-0 before suffering a 4-2 reverse in the second leg.
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