Doha, 14 August 2023 - Qatar clubs - Al Arabi and Al Wakrah will begin their journey in the West Zone Preliminary Round and Play-off stages to reserve a place in the group stage of the 2023-2024 AFC Champions League (ACL) on August 22.
Al Arabi, returning to the continental competition after a long absence, will face the winner of the AGMK from Uzbekistan with Oman’s Al Seeb (2022 AFC Cup champion) at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha at 8.30pm.
Al Wakrah, twice former Qatar Stars League champions will face Uzbekistan Super League runners-up Navbahor on August 22 at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, with kick-off at 6.30pm, for a coveted place in the AFC Champions League Group Stage.
The race to book a place in the Group Stage of the AFC Champions League 2023/24 will kick off on August 15 when 21 teams from the East and West Zones of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) begin their Preliminary and Playoff Stage journeys.
In the West Zone, the Preliminary Stage will ensue on August 15 when eight-time UAE Pro League champions Shabab Al Ahli cross paths with Jordanian heavyweights Al Wehdat at 7.35pm at the Rashid Stadium in Dubai; awaiting the winner of the enticing clash will be Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr in the Playoff Stage on August 22 at 8.20pm at the Alawwal Park in Riyadh.
The other two Preliminary Stage matches also kick off on August 15. First, Sharjah FC from the United Arab Emirates will lock horns with Bangladesh’s Bashundhara Kings at 7.35pm at the Sharjah Stadium, with the victorious side pitted against the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Tractor FC in the Playoff Stage at 7.30pm at the Yadegar Imam Stadium in Tabriz on August 22.
The 2023/24 edition of the AFC Champions League will mark the first instance of Asia’s premier club competition shifting from its erstwhile Spring-Autumn calendar to that of an Autumn-Spring season.
In the East Zone, action in the Preliminary Stage will commence when Hong Kong Rangers take on Vietnamese giants Haiphong FC on August 15 at 7.30pm at the Mongkok Stadium, whose winners will face off against Incheon United FC from the Korea Republic in the Playoff Stage on August 22 at 7.30pm at the Incheon Football Stadium. Meanwhile, Lee Man, also from Hong Kong, China, will open their Preliminary Stage campaign at 8pm at the Hong Kong Stadium against Indonesia’s Bali United FC, the victors of which will square off against defending champions Urawa Red Diamonds from Japan in the Playoff Stage, which is scheduled to take place on August 22 as well, for a spot in the Group Stage. This will kick off at 7.30pm at the Saitama Stadium 2002 in Tokyo.
Also taking place on August 22 are the remaining two matches in the Playoff Stage in this Zone which will see China PR’s Zhejiang FC and Shanghai Port FC battle Thailand’s Port FC and BG Pathum United, respectively.
The matches begin at 7.30pm at the Huzhou Olympic Sports Center and Shanghai’s SAIC Motor Pudong Arena respectively. The draw for the AFC Champions League 2023/24 Group Stage takes place on August 24.