Shanghai faces tough test after Asian Champions League draw

December 6, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Big-spending Shanghai Shenhua has been placed with Australian A-League premiers Sydney FC and 2016 FIFA Club World Cup finalist Kashima Antlers in the group stage of the 2018 Asian Champions League.

Shenhua, winner of the Chinese FA Cup last month, is waiting to see whether star Argentine Carlos Tevez will remain with the club after a disappointing first season in China.

Although reigning Asian champion Urawa Reds of Japan have failed to qualify for the 2018 tournament, 2016 winner Jeonbuk Motors will be returning. The South Korean club was barred from defending its title in 2017 after a club scout was found guilty of bribing referees in 2013.

In the group stage, Jeonbuk will face Kitchee of Hong Kong and two teams that come through the qualification stage.

Guangzhou Evergrande, the 2015 Asian champions, will take on Jeju United of South Korea, Buriram United of Thailand and the winner of Japan’s Emperor’s Cup.

The tournament, containing 32 teams split into eight groups and divided into western and eastern geographical zones, kicks off Feb. 12.

Update hourly