Asia AFC Champions League

Ventforet’s Fairytale ACL Run Faces It’s Biggest Challenge Yet

J.League 2 side Ventforet Kofu will their biggest challenge yet as their fairytale AFC Champions League run drew them against South Korean giants and 2-time ACL champions Ulsan HD (formerly Ulsan Hyundai) in February’s round of 16 match.

Having stunned Asia by winning a group containing Australian powerhouses Melbourne City, Thai champions Buriram United, and Chinese side Zhejiang FC, Ventforet’s reward for their superb continental performance was a two-legged encounter against Ulsan, who had recently rebranded themselves. The first leg will be played between 12th and 14th February at the Ulsan Munsu Stadium, before the two resumed hostilities at the National Stadium in Tokyo on the dates between 19th and 21st of February.

There’s also an all-South Korean affair as former champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Pohang Steelers went up against one another, with the two sides sharing five ACL titles between them. Japan’s Kawasaki Frontale were drawn to play China’s Shandong Taishan, who has former Borneo Samarinda danger man Matheus Pato amongst their ranks, while True Bangkok United, the only Southeast Asian side left in the competition, will be counting their stars as they take on Yokohama F. Marinos.

Meanwhile in the West, there will be an all-Saudi Arabian affair with Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr taking on debutants Al-Fayha, while Karim Benzema’s Al-Ittihad were set to take on another debutant in Uzbekistan’s Navbahor Namagan. Neymar’s Al-Hilal will have to navigate a tough tie against Iran’s Sepahan, while Nasaf Qarshi will take on the UAE’s Al-Ain.