Olunga's Al Duhail learn Asian Champions League opponents

Al Duhail striker Michael Olunga

Al Duhail's Kenyan striker Michael Olunga celebrates after scoring against Al Gharafa during their Qatar Stars League match on January 13, 2022. 

Photo credit: Pool

What you need to know:

  • Coach Luis Castro’s Al Duhail tops the 12-team league with 32 points from 14 matches followed by Al Sadd on 31 from 11 matches.
  • Al Sailiya is at the bottom with five points from 14 matches. Al Sailiya have lost their last five matches without scoring and six consecutively. Olunga leads the scoring charts on 16 goals, five ahead of Algerian Baghdad Bounedjah from Al Sadd. 

Eyes will be on Harambee Stars captain Michael Olunga at the 2022 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League after his side Al Duhail was drawn against Sepahan from Iran and Uzbekistan side Pakhtakor in Pool “D” on Monday.

The Qatari giants will also face the playoff winner between Al Tawawoun (Saudi Arabia) and Al Jaish (Syria) at the group phase, according to the draws done in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, with 40 clubs divided in 10 groups.

The 27-year-old centre-forward emerged the 2021 Champions League top scorer with nine goals that he got in Pool “C” against Esteghlal (Iran), Al Ahli (Saudi Arabia) and Al Shorta (Iraq) in April last year.  

He will hope to replicate his form in the prestigious Asian club competition as they aim to clinch the title.

Other Qatari clubs in the competition are Al Rayyan, holders Al Hilal from Saudi Arabia as well as Istikol (Tajikistan) and the winner of a playoff involving a team from the United Arab Emirates and Iraq in Pool “A”.

Al Gharafa is in Pool “B” together with Foolad Khouzestan (Iran), Shabab Al Ahli Dubai (UAE) and first-timers Ahal (Turkmenistan), while Al Sadd will take on debutants Al Faisaly from Saudi Arabia and Al Wehdat (Jordan) and winner of playoff pitting a team from Saudi Arabia and Syria.

Both the East and West Regions will feature five groups of four teams. The group stage will be played from April 15 to May 1 for the East Region and from May 10-26 for the West Region at centralized venues.

Five group winners and the best three runner-ups from each Region will advance to the Round of 16.

The winners of the tournament will directly qualify for the 2023 AFC Champions League.

Meanwhile, Al Duhail will play Al Sailiya in Qatar Stars League at Qatar Sports Club Stadium on Monday (6.30pm).

Coach Luis Castro’s Al Duhail tops the 12-team league with 32 points from 14 matches followed by Al Sadd on 31 from 11 matches.

Al Sailiya is at the bottom with five points from 14 matches. Al Sailiya have lost their last five matches without scoring and six consecutively. Olunga leads the scoring charts on 16 goals, five ahead of Algerian Baghdad Bounedjah from Al Sadd. 

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