0123 GMT February 26, 2018
The draw for the Group Stage of the 2018 AFC Champions League (ACL) was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Wednesday and the Iranian clubs discovered their opponents at the competition.
The Persian Gulf Pro League champion Persepolis was drawn in Group C of the competition along with Qatar’s Al Saad, Al Wasl of the UAE and the winner of the qualification playoff between Uzbekistan’s FC Nasaf and Al Faisaly of Jordan.
Iranian pro league runner-up Esteghlal was probably handed the toughest challenge among the Iranian sides as Tehran’s Blues are set to take on the 2017 ACL finalist Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia, Qatar’s Al Rayyan SC and the winner of the playoff clash between the UAE giant Al Ain and Bahrain’s Malkiya Club, in Group D.
In Group A, Tractorsazi Tabriz was given fixtures against last year’s quarterfinalist Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia, 2016-17 UAE Pro-League champion Al Jazira Club and either of Qatar’s Al Gharafa SC or Uzbekistan’s representative which are to square off in the playoffs.
Zob-Ahan FC, having been given a palyoff spot in place of Hazfi Cup champion Naft Tehran, will face the Indian side Aizawl FC on January 30 next year. The winner of the playoff fixture will be placed in Group B along with Al Duhail SC (Qatar), Al Wahda (UAE) and PFC Lokomotiv (Uzbekistan).