Qatar to host East Zone games for AFC Champions League

Kuala Lumpur (AFP) – Qatar will host East Zone matches for Asia’s Champions League after the West Zone games were successfully staged in the Gulf state following a long coronavirus hiatus, officials said Friday.

The East Zone teams, which come from countries including Japan, China and Australia, will play their remaining matches in Doha from November 18 to December 13, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said.

The venue for the single-leg final on December 19 is yet to be confirmed, however.

The AFC has had to repeatedly change its calendar due to the virus.

East-zone groups G and H had been scheduled to be played in Malaysia, which is currently battling a surge in virus cases.

Asia’s premier club tournament resumed last month in a bio-secure bubble in Qatar, which is also the host of the next World Cup in 2022.

It had been suspended in March following a handful of games, and Chinese clubs Shanghai SIPG, Shanghai Shenhua and Guangzhou Evergrande are yet to play any group matches.

AFC general secretary Windsor John praised the “smooth delivery” of the West Zone matches in Qatar.

They wrapped up at the weekend with Persepolis beating Al Nassr to reach the finals. 

There were some problems, however. Title-holders Al Hilal were kicked out of the tournament for failing to field enough players after some 30 footballers and staff tested positive for the virus.

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