The final 32 competitors for the 2012 continental competition have been decided after Saturday's play-offs which saw the 2009 Asian champions qualifyIranian giants Esteghlal, 2009 Asian champions Pohang Steelers and UAE outfit Al Shabab have all clinched qualification for the 2011 AFC Champions League (ACL) after winning their play-offs on Saturday.
The results means the draw for the 2012 ACL is complete with all 32 competitors now decided.
Esteghlal are in Group A alongside Al Rayyan, Al Jazira and Nasaf Qarshi, while Al Shabab are in Group D with Persepolis, Al Hilal and Al Gharafa. Pohang are in Group E and will face Gamba Osaka, Bunyodkor and Adelaide United.
|POHANG STEELERS 2-0 CHONBURI
Three-time Asian champions Pohang reached the final 32 with a comfortable victory over Thai Premier League runners-up Chonburi. Hwang Jin-Sung opened the scoring on 28 minutes with a fine free-kick, before Park Sun-Ho sealed the win with a 70th-minute header.
An ambitious Pohang boss Hwang Sun-Hong told reporters: "The team did as was expected, we want to play ACL this year and we're ready for Fifa Club World Cup this year."
Chonburi coach Withaya Laohakul said: "I am disappointed with the result but the weather was a big problem. The cold weather meant the players were not able to move as freely as normal."
|ESTEGHLAL 3-1 AL ETTIFAQ
Tehran giants Esteghlal made it three Iranian representatives in the 2012 ACL after an exciting win over Saudi Arabia's Al Ettifaq, in a game which saw three goals in six minutes. Goran Jerkovic had given Esteghlal a first-half lead, but Al Ettifaq levelled through Yousef Al Salem on the hour. Esteghlal hit back right away thanks to strikes from Khosro Heydari and Arash Borhani.
Esteghlal boss Parvis Mazloumi said: "It was a very stressful match and this was a massive win for us. We needed to reach the ACL or we would have had to play in the AFC Cup and we belong in the ACL."
Al Ettifaq assistant coach Andrej Panadic said: "Our defeat wasn't down to his (coach Branko Ivankovic) absence. He trusts me and I used his strategies. We lost because we conceded bad and strange goals."
|AL SHABAB 3-1 NEFTCHI
Essa Obaid was the star of the show with a double as UAE outfit Al Shabab cruised past Uzbekistan's Neftchi. Obaid opened the scoring on six minutes and grabbed the second right on the hour mark, before Aziz Alijonov's own goal in stoppage time.
Obaid said: "We wanted to qualify for the AFC Champions League, especially because teams from the UAE haven't performed well in previous competitions."