By Yoo Jee-ho
SEOUL, Oct. 6 (Yonhap) -- The rescheduled match fixtures for Asia's top club football tournament have been released.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced new fixtures for the AFC Champions League on its website on Tuesday, with group stage matches for clubs in the East Zone -- South Korea, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, China and Japan -- to resume on Nov. 18. Previously, the AFC had said those teams would be back in action on Nov. 15.
Those in the West Zone, with clubs in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iraq, have already completed their group phase, and Persepolis FC of Iran have booked a spot in the final, scheduled for Dec. 19.
The annual competition, with eight groups of four clubs in action, kicked off in February but was put on hold after a couple of matches due to the COVID-19 outbreak across the continent.
After multiple readjustments, the AFC said matches for teams in Groups E to H will run from Nov. 18 to Dec. 4.
Four clubs from South Korea's K League 1 qualified for this year's AFC Champions League: FC Seoul in Group E, Ulsan Hyundai FC in Group F, Suwon Samsung Bluewings in Group G and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in Group H. These four teams played two group matches apiece in February.
Teams in Groups G and H will play in a centralized venue in Malaysia, while the site for clubs in Groups E and F has not been determined.
FC Seoul will return to action against Beijing FC on Nov. 21 in Group E. Ulsan's first match back in Group F is against Shanghai Shenhua FC on the same day.
Suwon will take on Guangzhou Evergrande FC on Nov. 22 in Group G. Jeonbuk will also play their Group F match against Shanghai SIPG FC on the same day.
The top two clubs from each group will advance to the knockout stage. All knockout matches, including the championship final, will now be one-and-done affairs, instead of the usual home-and-away series where the aggregate score determines the winners.
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