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 By John Duerden

Iran's World Cup hopes rest on AZ Alkmaar's Alireza Jahanbakhsh

The ESPN FC panel break down Group B where they feel Portugal and Spain are favourites over Morocco and Iran.
From Ligue 1 to the German Cup, check out all the best finishes from across the footballing world this midweek.

It is not often that free-scoring forwards have to step out of the shadow of miserly defenders to take the spotlight, but that is what Alireza Jahanbakhsh will be doing this June.

Iran's defence made all the headlines in Asia during qualification for the 2018 World Cup, conceding just two goals in 10 games in the final group stage of qualification. But Jahanbakhsh is the man who can take Team Melli to a first-ever place in the second round. After all, the 24-year-old is one of the most in-form players...

Tianjin Quanjian boss hopes for AFC Champions League boost to league form

Paulo Sousa wants his team to take their ACL form into domestic competition.

Paulo Sousa is hoping his Tianjin Quanjian players can carry their AFC Champions League form into the Chinese Super League after a 3-2 win over Japan's Kashiwa Reysol confirmed their place in the round of 16.

Tianjin face Guangzhou Evergrande in an all-Chinese clash next month after finishing second in Group E behind two-time champions Jeonbuk Motors of South Korea, who beat Hong Kong's Kitchee 3-0 to seal top spot and set up a meeting with Thailand's Buriram United.

"This is our debut season in...

 By John Duerden

Interest in K-League on the wane as South Korea hope for World Cup success

Ulsan Hyundai Horangi, Asian champions in 2012, have seen attendances dwindle.

The weekend of April 13 and 14 will live long in the memory of South Korean football fans for all the wrong reasons.

A total of just 18,000 people in the country attended the six games in the K-League, with five of the tournament's biggest teams at home. Less than 2,000 came to see Ulsan Hyundai Horangi, Asian champions in 2012, take on FC Seoul. Just 3,000 were at Suwon Samsung Bluewings, a club that attracted regular crowds of 25,000 in the previous decade, with one of the best atmospheres in...

Sydney FC held by Shanghai Shenhua as Champions League exit confirmed

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Shanghai ShenhuaShanghai Shenhua
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A wasteful Sydney FC are out of the AFC Champions League after a fiery 0-0 stalemate with a second-string Shanghai Shenhua.

Sitting third in Group H, the Sky Blues needed to beat last-placed Shanghai on Tuesday night and hope second-placed Suwon Bluewings failed to beat leaders Kashima Antlers at the same time to make the round of 16.

But the concurrent match in Japan didn't run to script as Suwon won 1-0 on matchday six.

In truth, neither did Sydney's final group match at Allianz Stadium, where...

Jiangsu Suning win again under new boss Cosmin Olaroiu; Beijing Guoan draw

Cosmin Olaroiu's winning start to life in the Chinese Super League continued on Friday evening as the Romanian led Jiangsu Suning to a 2-0 win over Guangzhou R&F.

Olaroiu was appointed just 10 days ago to replace Fabio Capello but has led the 2016 Chinese Super League runners-up to back-to-back wins thanks to goals from Huang Zhichang and Alex Teixeira.

"We know Eran Zahavi and Renatinho are both high-level players so, before the game, we worked on our tactics in training so that we would not give...

Tianjin guarantee Champions League knockouts with win; SIPG secure top spot in Group F

Alexandre Pato, right, and Tianjin Quanjian edged past Kitchee on Wednesday night.

Anthony Modeste's late header guaranteed Tianjin Quanjian would advance to the knockout phase of the Asian Champions League on Wednesday night as the Frenchman's goal saw off Hong Kong's Kitchee and secured a place in the last 16 for the Chinese Super League side.

Modeste headed home from close range with just over a minute left in regulation time as tournament debutants Tianjin joined compatriots Shanghai SIPG in qualifying for the next round of the competition.

A draw would have been enough for...