By Michael Church
HONG KONG, July 11 (Reuters) – Last year’s finalists Persepolis will play debutants Istkilol of Tajikistan and 2019 winners Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia meet Iran’s Esteghlal, at the Asian Champions League in September.
Another clash between clubs from Saudi Arabia and Iran sees Riyadh’s Al Nassr meeting Tractor FC while United Arab Emirates duo Sharjah and Al Wahda will also face off.
Daegu FC claimed the last spot in the Asian Champions League Round of 16 when the South Korean side’s 4-0 win over United City FC of the Philippines on Sunday saw them pip Hong Kong’s Kitchee to the remaining group runners-up qualifying spot.
Daegu finished behind Group I winners Kawasaki Frontale with the victory moving Lee Byung-guen’s side to 12 points, meaning the K-League club clinched the third and final second-place qualifying berth alongside Pohang Steelers and BG Pathum United.
Kawasaki won 4-0 against Beijing Guoan to finish six points clear of Daegu and next face holders Ulsan Hyundai in a blockbuster last-16 tie in September.
Daegu, who will meet Japan’s Nagoya Grampus, went ahead in Tashkent when Tsubasa Nishi slotted home eight minutes before the break.
Former Asian Player of the Year Lee Keun-ho stretched high to volley home the second three minutes into the second half before Edgar Silva and Jeong Chi-in completed the win.
Ulsan wrapped up Group F with a 2-0 win over BG Pathum United in Bangkok to finish six points above their opponents, with both clubs having already sealed their places in the next round before kick-off.
BG Pathum United will meet twice winners Jeonbuk Motors in the next round, which is due to be played from Sept. 13-15, while Group J winners Cerezo Osaka take on Pohang Steelers.
Sunday’s results complete the draw for the last 16 after teams from the west of the continent finished their group stage commitments in April.
Matches in the group phase have been played in biosecure hubs and games in the quarter-finals and semi-finals are scheduled to also be held in centralised venues in mid-October, with the final slated for Nov. 23.
(Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Ken Ferris)