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Scolari's new club Bunyodkor to meet Pohang in ACL

Scolari's new club Bunyodkor to meet Pohang in ACL

Luiz Felipe Scolari's first taste of Asian continental competition with Bunyodkor will come in September when the Uzbek club hosts South Korea's Pohang Steelers in the Asian Champions League quarterfinals.
Scolari, who guided Brazil to the World Cup title in 2002 when the sport's showpiece tournament was co-hosted by South Korea and Japan, arrived in Uzbekistan to take up his new contract Monday, about the same time the draw for the ACL quarterfinals was taking place in Kuala Lumpur.
Pohang manager Sergio Farias was excited by the prospect of locking horns with his famous compatriot in the Asian club championship quarterfinals.
"It will be an interesting match between two teams coached by Brazilians. I know that Scolari (has) reached Tashkent and I am looking forward to the two-legged quarterfinal," Farias told the-afc.com. "I would have actually preferred to play against the Japanese teams but it's good that we play the away match first against the Uzbeks."
Pohang advanced on a 6-0 thrashing of Australia's Newcastle Jets in the second round and won back-to-back Asian club championships in the 1990s.
Japan, South Korea and Uzbekistan all got two clubs into the last eight, but only one J-League representative can advance any further after Japanese clubs Kawasaki Frontale and Nagoya were drawn to meet in the quarters on Sept. 23 and Sept. 30.
Kawasaki ousted defending champion and J-League rival Gamba Osaka from contention in the second round.
FC Seoul will face Qatar club Umm Salal and Uzbekistan's Pakhtakor faces two-time champion Al Ittihad of Saudi Arabia.
Bunyodkor team manager Bakhtiyor Babaev expected Scolari's arrival to increase the club's chances of winning the ACL title.
"We hope that Scolari's experience will come in handy at the international level and it will benefit Bunyodkor," he was quoted saying.
The 60-year-old Scolari has signed an 18-month deal with the Uzbek league leaders and Asian Champions League quarterfinalists.
Bunyodkor's hiring of Scolari was in keeping with a big-spending and ambitious transfer policy. Veteran Brazil playmaker Rivaldo plays at the club, which also made an audacious bid to sign Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o.
Scolari, who takes over from another Brazilian great Zico, was fired by English Premier League club Chelsea in February. Apart from his stint as national coach at Kuwait, Brazil and Portugal, he has helped Brazilian clubs Gremio and Palmeiras to Copa Libertadores titles.
The Asian Champions League semifinals will be played in a home-and-away format Oct. 21 and 28. The final will be held at Tokyo's National Stadium on Nov. 7 with the winners clinching a spot at the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi in December.


Updated : 2021-05-17 00:29 GMT+08:00