Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr set for all-Saudi showdown in Asian Champions

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Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr will face fellow Saudi Pro League side Al-Fayha in the last 16 of the Asian Champions League with four-times winners Al-Hilal due to take on Iran’s Sepahan when the continental club championship returns in February.

Al-Nassr emerged unbeaten from the group phase of the competition earlier this month and will meet the tournament debutants over two legs, the first on February 12 or 13 with the second one week later.

Al-Hilal, who won the most recent of their record four titles in 2021, will travel to Iran for the first leg against Sepahan before hosting the side from Isfahan in Riyadh.

Karim Benzema will lead Jeddah’s Al-Ittihad, the tournament’s fourth Saudi Pro League outfit, into the last 16 where they will face Uzbekistan’s Navbahor.

Nasaf, also from Uzbekistan, were drawn to play former champions Al-Ain from the United Arab Emirates.

The eastern side of the draw will see South Korean sides Jeonbuk Motors and Pohang Steelers, who have won five Asian Champions League titles between them, face off in the next phase of the competition.

Another former champion from South Korea, Ulsan Hyundai, will take on Japan’s Ventforet Kofu, who have become the first second-division outfit to progress to the competition’s knockout rounds.

Chinese Super League side Shandong Taishan will host Japan’s Kawasaki Frontale in the first leg of their last 16 meeting on February 13 or 14 while Thailand’s Bangkok United take on 2022 J.League champions Yokohama F Marinos.

Teams from the western and eastern regions will continue to be separated through the quarter-finals and semi-finals, which are due to be played in March and April respectively.

The successful teams on each side of the draw will face off over two legs in the final, which will be played on a home-and-away basis on May 11 and 18.