Ten Cate’s Al-Wahda reaches ACL group stage with playoff win


SEOUL — The delayed Asian Champions League started Wednesday with teams from Uzbekistan, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq winning playoff games to move into the group stage.

Former Ajax coach Henk ten Cate led Al-Wahda from Abu Dhabi to a 2-1 win over Al-Zawraa of Iraq, while Jovan Djokic scored in the last minute of extra time to give Uzbekistan’s AGMK a 1-0 win over Al-Gharafa of Qatar to reach the group stage for the first time.

Iraq’s Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya won a penalty shootout 3-2 against Al-Wehda of Saudi Arabia after a 1-1 draw.

The playoffs from the eastern side of the draw featuring teams from Australia, Myanmar and the Philippines have been pushed back until June due to travel restrictions put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The western half of the group stage starts next Wednesday while the eastern zone is scheduled to get underway in June or July.

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