ZURICH (Reuters) - The Asian Champions League winners were handed a tough draw for this year’s Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi when they were placed on Monday in the same half as European champions Real Madrid.
The AFC champions will meet either Oceania champions Auckland City or Al Jazira in the quarter-finals with the winners facing title-holders Real in the semis of the tournament in December.
The other quarter-final will pit CONCACAF champions Pachuca against the African champions with the winners to meet the South American champions - also still to be decided - in the last four.
Al Jazira, who qualified as champions of the host nation United Arab Emirates, will meet Auckland City in a preliminary round tie. Due to the odd number of teams, the tournament has only two quarter-finals.
The tournament, organised by FIFA, has been dominated by European teams since it was started in its current form in 2005, reflecting the fact that the best South American, Asian and African players are based in Europe rather than their own continents.
Nine of the 12 past tournaments, including the last four, have been won by European sides with the other three all going to teams from Brazil - Sao Paulo, Internacional and Corinthians.
The AFC Champions League has reached the semi-final stage with Al-Hilal (Saudi Arabia), Persepolis (Iran), Urawa Red Diamonds (Japan) and Shanghai SIPG (China) the remaining sides.
Barcelona (Ecuador), Gremio (Brazil) and Argentine sides River Plate and Lanus have reached the South American Libertadores Cup semi-finals. USM Alger (Algeria), Wydad Casablanca (Morocco), Al Ahly (Egypt) and Etoile de Sahel (Tunisia) are the last four in the African Champions League.
Writing by Brian Homewood, editing by Ed Osmond