Al Jazira and Al Ain set for ACL Last 16 first legs

Dubai: Al Jazira play Iran’s Persepolis at home from 7.30pm in the Asian Champions League Last 16 first leg on Monday. This will be followed on Tuesday at 8.10pm, by Al Ain’s hosting of Qatar’s Al Duhail in the same phase of the tournament.

Al Jazira finished second in Group A behind Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia ahead of Qatar’s Al Gharafa and Iran’s Tractor Sazi.

They take on Persepolis who finished top of Group C ahead of Qatar’s Al Sadd, Uzbekistan’s Nasaf Qarshi and the UAE’s Al Wasl.

This is Al Jazira’s 10th consecutive appearance in the Asian Champions League having first qualified in 2009, since then they have only previously made it out of the group twice in 2012 and 2014, failing to get past the Last 16 on both occasions.

If they get past Persepolis, who reached the semi-finals in their best finish in seven attempts last season, it would be the furthest Al Jazira have ever got in the tournament.

Elsewhere, Al Ain are taking on Qatar’s Al Duhail in the only other Last 16 match involving a UAE club.

Al Ain finished second in Group D behind Iran’s Esteghlal, ahead of Qatar’s Al Rayyan and Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal.

They take on Al Duhail, who finished top of Group B ahead of Iran’s Zob Ahan, Uzbekistan’s Lokomotiv Tashkent and the UAE’s Al Wahda.

Al Ain have the best Asian Champions League record of any UAE club, reaching three finals in 13 appearances winning once in 2003. They last reached the final in 2016.

Al Duhail meanwhile, is the product of a merger between Al Lekhwiya and El Jaish, so this is effectively their first season in the Asian Champions League. Al Lekhwiya twice reached the quarters in six attempts in 2013 and 2015, while El Jaish’s best run in five appearances was to the semi-finals in 2016 where they lost to Al Ain.