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Qatar to host delayed AFC Champions League eastern division

Kualalumpur

The Asian Football Confederation said Friday that the eastern portion of the Asian Champions League — like the recently completed western division — will be played in Qatar after an agreement was reached between it and the Qatar Football Association. The AFC said the Champions League East will be played between Nov. 18 and Dec. 13. It will resume from the group stage and continue through the round of 16 to the quarterfinals and semifinals. The venue for the final, which is scheduled to be played on Dec. 19, has not been confirmed.

Last weekend, Perspolis of Iran beat Al Nassr of Saudi Arabia 5-3 on penalties in Doha after the teams were level 1-1 after extra time to qualify as the western representative for the final. Matches in the Asian Champions League were suspended in early March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The western division teams were subject to testing and biosecure hotels and transport during their stay in Qatar, and similar is planned for the eastern group. “Everything from the arrival of the teams, the efficient immigration process, the rigorous health screenings, hotels with biosecurity measures, to the state-of-the-art training facilities and stadiums were of the highest possible standard,” AFC general secretary Dato’ Windsor John said.

The western section of the knockout rounds began without defending champion Al-Hilal of Saudi Arabia which topped its group after playing five of its six games. Al-Hilal was removed from the competition this week after so many players tested positive for COVID-19 it could not fulfil its last group-stage fixture. A second team, Al-Wahda of the United Arab Emirates, did not travel to Qatar because of virus cases. The previous results of Al-Wahda and Al-Hilal were wiped from their group standings.

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