Kuala Lumpur: The 16 sides in the 2017 AFC Champions League’s East Zone return on Tuesday and Wednesday, with things starting to take shape as the Group Stage moves towards an exciting final three games.
Shanghai SIPG will confirm their qualification for the round of 16 should they make it back-to-back wins over second-placed Urawa Red Diamonds in Group F on Tuesday.
The Chinese Super League outfit claimed a thrilling 3-2 victory over their Japanese opponents three weeks ago and a fourth straight group stage win would open up a six-point gap at the top and confirm their early passage to the knockout rounds.
Elsewhere, Western Sydney Wanderers will look to put themselves back in contention for a top-two finish as they aim for consecutive victories over bottom side FC Seoul after claiming a 3-2 win in Korea Republic on Matchday Three, while 2016 semi-finalists FC Seoul would be eliminated should they lose.
Urawa Red Diamonds (JPN) v Shanghai SIPG (CHN)
Venue: Saitama Stadium, Saitama
Kick-off: April 11, 19:30 UTC+9
Western Sydney Wanders (AUS) v FC Seoul (KOR)
Venue: Campbelltown Sports Stadium, Sydney
Kick-off: April 11, 20:00 UTC+10
Another side who will confirm their qualification for the last 16 with a win on Tuesday are Jiangsu FC, who have posted three successive victories to open up a five-point lead in Group H.
Last time out, the Chinese team secured a 1-0 scoreline at Gamba Osaka and successive wins over the Japanese side would see them advance to the knockout phase for the first time.
Second-placed Jeju United host bottom side Adelaide United after the pair played out a gripping 3-3 draw on Matchday Three, and a win for the Korean team would end the 2008 finalists’ continental hopes.
Jiangsu FC (CHN) v Gamba Osaka (JPN)
Venue: Nanjing Olympic Sports Center, Nanjing
Kick-off: April 11, 19:35 UTC+8
Jeju United (KOR) v Adelaide United (AUS)
Venue: Jeju World Cup Stadium, Jeju
Kick-off: April 11, 20:00 UTC+9
Just two points separate first from third in Group E as table-toppers Kashima Antlers travel to bottom side Brisbane Roar on Wednesday aiming to edge closer to the last 16.
Kashima ran out 3-0 victors against the Australian side three weeks ago to move back into pole position while Brisbane, who have yet to register a goal, could be eliminated should they suffer a third defeat in four.
Elsewhere, second meets third in Thailand as Muangthong United target the win that would see them move four points clear of Ulsan Hyundai and leave them in a strong position to advance after the pair ended scoreless on Matchday Three.
Brisbane Roar (AUS) v Kashima Antlers (JPN)
Venue: Brisbane Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: April 12, 19:00 UTC+10
Muangthong United (THA) v Ulsan Hyundai (KOR)
Venue: Thunderdome Stadium, Nonthaburi
Kick-off: April 12, 19:30 UTC+7
Finally in the East, Group G leaders Guangzhou Evergrande travel to Kawasaki Frontale on Wednesday and second-placed Suwon Samsung Bluewings, who are level on five points with the Chinese side, host Eastern SC.
Two-time winners Guangzhou have recorded back-to-back draws and will look to return to winning ways in Japan, while opponents Kawasaki also need to turn draws into wins after their 1-1 scoreline in China in mid-March meant they had ended level in each of their group stage games.
Suwon defeated Eastern 1-0 in Hong Kong on Matchday Three and completing the double over the AFC Champions League debutants would see Chan Yuen-ting’s team eliminated should Guangzhou defeat Kawasaki.
Kawasaki Frontale (JPN) v Guangzhou Evergrande (CHN)
Venue: Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium, Kawasaki
Kick-off: April 12, 19:00 UTC+9
Suwon Samsung Bluewings (KOR) v Eastern SC (HKG)
Venue: Suwon World Cup Stadium, Suwon
Kick-off: April 12, 19:00 UTC+9
Photo: Lagardère Sports