The group stage of the 2017 AFC Champions League kicks off on Monday with eight of the 32 teams participating in the first matchday.
In the West Zone, group A will get underway with 2015 AFC Champions League runners-up Al Ahli of the UAE hosting Iran’s Esteghlal. The Iranian club had played in the UAE before, defeating Al Jazira in the group stage back in 2014.
Esteghlal will hope to replicate that success again this year, but Al Ahli’s on-loan striker Asamoah Gyan will make it very difficult for the visitors.
Meanwhile, Uzbek defending champions Lokomotiv Tashkent will visit debutants Al Taawoun of Saudi Arabia. Lokomotiv, who made it to the last eight of last year’s competition, has established themselves as one of the more exciting sides in the tournament.
In group B, Iranian Pro League winners Esteghal Khouzestan will make their debut against Al Fateh from Saudi Arabia. Lekwiya from Qatar host UAE Pro League leaders Al Jazira, who are in hot form with a run of eight successive wins in their domestic league.