The AFC Champions League™ 2022 (West) Knockout Stage is set to be a thriller following the official draw at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha on Thursday.
Saudi Arabian sides Al Hilal SFC - the defending champions - and Al Shabab, Islamic Republic of Iran’s Foolad Khouzestan FC and Al Duhail SC of Qatar will vie to meet Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds in the two-leg final on April 29 and May 6.
Al Hilal, seeking to win the title for the third time in four years, will face Foolad Khouzestan FC in a quarter-final that is sure to whet appetites.
The other quarter-final promises to be a thriller as well with Al Duhail to play Al Shabab.
Al Hilal head coach Ramon Diaz was delighted with the possibility of an all-Saudi Arabia semi-final.
“I am happy with the draw as there is a possibility of a Saudi Arabia team making the final. At this level of the competition, it is very complicated as all the teams are very good. We will focus on ourselves and be ready for Foolad,” said Diaz.
Foolad International Affairs Manager Saleh Ameri welcomed the challenge of Al Hilal, saying there were no easy matches at the quarter-final stage of the AFC Champions League.
“Yes, it will be a very tough match but we have very good technical staff and they will make sure the players are ready. We will be there with our full power,” said Ameri.
Al Duhail head coach Hernan Crespo said his players were excited to be in the quarter-final and would be up for the challenge that Al Shabab will pose.
“We know of Al Shabab’s qualities but we will focus on ourselves. We had a tough match against Al Rayyan but all the players will be ready for Al Shabab,” said Crespo.
Al Shabab head coach Vicente Moreno said his team will not fear Al Duhail.
“We are playing against a big team but we don’t fear Al Duhail or any team. This game is very important for us and we will prepare as best as we can for the quarter-final,” said Peris.
The quarter-finals will be played on Thursday with the semi-final scheduled for Sunday.
Al Duhail SC (QAT) v Al Shabab (KSA)
Al Thumama Stadium - 18:00 (UTC+3)
Foolad Khouzestan FC (IRN) v Al Hilal SFC (KSA)
Al Janoub Stadium - 21:00 (UTC+3)