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Tianjin Quanjian to face Kashima Antlers in AFC Champions League quarterfinals

Tianjin Quanjian's Alexandre Pato, left, and Axel Witsel.
Tianjin Quanjian's Alexandre Pato, left, and Axel Witsel defeated Guangzhou Evergrande in the round of 16.

Tianjin Quanjian, China's last remaining representative in the Asian Champions League, will take on Japan's Kashima Antlers when the quarterfinals resume in August.

Tianjin, who saw off two-time champions Guangzhou Evergrande on away goals in the round of 16, will travel to Japan to take on the eight-time J.League champions in late August before hosting the return leg three weeks later.

They reached the quarterfinals after coming through the playoffs with a win over Ceres Negros from the Philippines before emerging from a group that featured Jeonbuk Hyundai, the two-time winners from South Korea, as well as Hong Kong's Kitchee and Kashiwa Reysol from Japan.

Kashima are appearing in the last eight for the first time since 2008 and booked their berth by defeating Chinese Super League leaders Shanghai SIPG. The Japanese club have never gone beyond the last eight of the competition.

Jeonbuk, meanwhile, were drawn to face fellow South Korean side Suwon Bluewings in a clash between teams that have four Asian titles between them.

The K League leaders, Jeonbuk, who won the title in 2006 and 2016, will go into the game as favourites over Suwon, who won Asian Club Championship titles in 2001 and 2002.

The format of the Asian Champions League has the confederation split in two, with the best club in the east facing the top side from the west in the final, meaning either Tianjin or Kashima will face Jeonbuk or Suwon in the semifinals.

In the west, Qatar's Al Duhail, who have won all eight of their games in the competition so far, will take on Iran's Persepolis, and Esteghlal, also from Iran, will meet Al Sadd, from Qatar, in the quarterfinals.

The first legs of each tie will be played between Aug. 27 and Aug. 29 with the return fixtures held between Sept. 17 and Sept. 19.

Michael Church has written about Asian football for more than 20 years and mainly covers the Chinese game for ESPN FC. Twitter: @michaelrgchurch

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