Monday, April 15, 2024

AFC Champions League 2023/24: Last-16 Fixtures, Latest Odds & Preview

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The 2023/24 AFC Champions League group stage has been completed, and the contenders for the upcoming round of 16 have been revealed.

With a vast line-up of 40 teams, only the ten group winners secured direct entry into the knockout phase, where they are joined by the six best-performing runners-up – three each from the East and West Asia Zones.

The group stage saw some of the anticipated favourites book a place in the knockout phase, but there were some surprises as several former powerhouses made early exits.

Read on as we provide you with a comprehensive guide to the 2023/24 AFC Champions League round of 16.

AFC Champions League 2023/24: Last-16 Fixtures

First Leg

  • Shandong Taishan vs Kawasaki Frontale – February 13
  • Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors vs Pohang Steelers – February 14
  • True Bangkok United vs Yokohama F Marinos – February 14
  • Nasaf Qarshi vs Al-Ain – February 14
  • Al-Fayha vs Al-Nassr – February 14
  • Ulsan HD vs Ventforet Kofu – February 15
  • Navbahor Namangan vs Al-Ittihad – February 15
  • Sepahan SC vs Al-Hilal – February 15

Second Leg

  • Kawasaki Frontale vs Shandong Taishan – February 20
  • Pohang Steelers vs Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors – February 20
  • Ventforet Kofu vs Ulsan HD – February 21
  • Yokohama F Marinos vs True Bangkok United – February 21
  • Al-Ain vs Nasaf Qarshi – February 21
  • Al-Nassr vs Al-Fayha – February 21
  • Al-Ittihad vs Navbahor Namangan – February 22
  • Al-Hilal vs Sepahan SC – February 22

Latest Betting Odds

Saudi Pro League (SPL) powerhouse Al-Nassr are the bookmakers’ favourites to win the AFC Champions League.

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Considering the form of the Riyadh-based giants, it is no surprise they are being tipped to clinch the title. However, they will face tough competition from Al-Ittihad and Al-Hilal for the prestigious crown.

The participation of multiple SPL clubs is likely to please various betting sites in the Middle East, which are offering tantalising one of the Saudi representatives to be crowned champions.

Cristiano Ronaldo and co have been backed to beat the competition, and their enticing odds will tempt Arab punters to place wagers on the SPL heavyweights.

Al-Ittihad are also fancied despite their recent league form, but Arab punters may find SPL leaders Al-Hilal as the best value-for-money option considering their outstanding title credentials this season.

Here’s a comprehensive Mega Pari review of the latest odds to win the tournament ahead of the highly anticipated AFC Champions League last-16.

  • Al-Nassr – 4.50
  • Al-Ittihad – 6.00
  • Al-Hilal – 6.50
  • Ulsan HD – 7.00
  • Pohang Steelers – 9.00
  • Yokohama F Marinos – 10.00
  • Kawasaki Frontale – 15.00
  • Shandong Taishan – 21.00
  • Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors – 26.00
  • True Bangkok United – 26.00
  • Al-Ain – 34.00
  • Nasaf Qarshi – 41.00
  • Ventforet Kofu – 67.00
  • Al-Fayha – 101.00
  • Navbahor Namangan – 101.00
  • Sepahan SC – 101.00

Last-16 Preview

While it’s difficult to predict who will go home with the highly coveted title, there is considerable anticipation around the SPL teams, as they are strongly favoured to return to the Middle East with the crown.

Despite Al-Nassr’s lack of experience in this competition, they are the favourites to go all the way. However, it will not be a walk in the park, especially with their SPL counterparts also vying for the title.

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Al-Ittihad have been woeful in the SPL this season, but they steamrolled to the knockout stage of the AFC Champions League, winning five of their six group phase games (L1).

Considering their continental prowess, it would be naive to rule out the two-time AFC Champions League winners. The same can be said about record champions Al-Hilal, who were also dominant in Group D.

The four-time winners rounded off the group phase with an unbeaten record. A 1-1 draw against Navbahor was the only blemish in their record (W5), scoring 16 times and conceding just twice, so another title could be on the cards.

Al-Ain are the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) best chance of landing the trophy, and they also enjoyed a strong group stage campaign, winning five of their six games (L1).

However, their 34.00 odds suggest that success in the AFC Champions League might be more of an aspiration than a realistic expectation.

South Korea’s Ulsan HD could be the tournament’s dark horses, but their performance in the group stage raises significant doubt about their ability to upset the odds.

They finished second in Group I, six points behind Kawasaki, after winning just three of their six games (D1, L2). They must improve to stand any chance of causing a major upset this season.

Pohang Steelers and Yokohama F Marinos could also be dangerous in a tournament which is shaping up to produce some thrilling battles in the run-up to the final.

Stuart Wagner
Stuart Wagner
"Professional coffee fan. Total beer nerd. Hardcore reader. Alcohol fanatic. Evil twitter buff. Friendly tv scholar."

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