Saudi Arabia to host group matches in Asian Champions League

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Saudi Arabia will host all five groups in the western half of the Asian Champions League, the Asian Football Confederation announced on Thursday.

Riyadh will host matches involving defending champions Al Hilal in their home city in Group A, which also features Istiklol from Turkmenistan, Qatar’s Al Rayyan and a playoff winner.

Group B, which involves Mumbai City, al-Jazira from the United Arab Emirates, al-Shabab of Saudi Arabia and Iraq’s Air Force Club, will also play in Riyadh.

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Jeddah will host Foolad from Iran, Shabab al-Ahli Dubai, al-Gharafa of Qatar and Turkmenistan’s Ahal in Group C, while Group D, featuring Sepahan of Iran, al-Duhail from Qatar, Uzbekistan’s Pakhtakor and a playoff winner, will be held in Buraidah.

Group E will be played in Dammam and will feature Qatar’s al-Sadd, al-Faisaly from Saudi Arabia, Jordanian side Al Wehdat and a playoff winner.

Matches are scheduled to begin on April 7 with the winners of each group advancing to the last 16 alongside the three clubs with the best runners-up records.

The venues for the five groups in the eastern side of the draw were announced last month, with matches to be played in Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia.

Games in the east will kick off on April 15.

The group phase in this year’s Asian Champions League is being played in centralized bio-secure bubbles to limit travel due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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