Football: ‘Big Phil’ Scolari onboard for Evergrande-Reysol ACL clash
- Updated: June 18, 2015
June 18, 2015: Former champions Guangzhou Evergrande will face old rivals Kashiwa Reysol in the AFC Champions League quarter-finals following Thursday’s draw in Kuala Lumpur.
Evergrande became the first Chinese side to be crowned continental champions in 23 years after edging out FC Seoul in the 2013 final under former coach Marcello Lippi, having beaten Kashiwa 8-1 on aggregate in the semi-finals.
World Cup-winning coach Luiz Felipe Scolari recently succeeded Fabio Cannavaro at Evergrande and will be in charge as the Chinese champions face a repeat encounter with the J.League side. Scolari’s men will travel to Japan for the first leg on August 26 before hosting Reysol three weeks later.
Liu Yongzhuo, President of Guangzhou Evergrande, said: “We respect each opponent and we will try our best to play well in the remaining matches.
“This is the beginning of the second half of our 10-year plan and within the next five years we want to be in the top 20 strongest teams in the world. We have a very good squad right now, but we will make some amendments to make us stronger.”
Guangzhou or Kashiwa will face either 2006 winners Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors or 2008 champions Gamba Osaka.
In the west, 2014 finalists and two-time Asian Club Championship winners Al Hilal will face Qatari champions Lekhwiya in the quarter-finals.
Al Hilal team official Turki Khalid Al Mesned said: “I hoped that before the draw we would meet Lekhwiya and the dream came true as we will meet our friends from Qatar and I hope that we can show a good game on the 25th of August.
“We lost the final last year, but every match has a loser and we have finally got over the effects of losing the final. A week ago we won the King’s Cup in Saudi Arabia, and that will motivate our club forward to the final.”
Debutants Naft Tehran take on Al Ahli of the UAE, with the Iranian side hosting the first leg at Azadi Stadium.
The first legs of the quarter-finals will be played on August 25 and 26, with the return fixtures on September 15 and 16.
The semi-finals will also be played on a home-and-away basis, on September 29 and 30, and October 20 and October 21.
The final will also be played over two legs, with the semi-final winner from the east hosting the second leg on November 21 having travelled to the west for the first leg two weeks earlier.
AFC Champions League Quarter-Finals Draw
Al Hilal (KSA) v Lekhwiya (QAT)
Naft Tehran (IRN) vs Al Ahli (UAE)
Kashiwa Reysol (JPN) vs Guangzhou Evergrande (CHN)
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (KOR) vs Gamba Osaka (JPN)
For more information, visit: www.the-afc.com/en/tournaments/clubs/afc-champions-league
Source: WSG (www.wsgworld.com); Editing by SportAsia