The match schedule for the 2016 AFC Champions League has been finalised, with as many as four Japanese clubs set to compete for continental glory.
2015 MEIJI YASUDA J.League champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima will be joined by Emperor’s Cup winners Gamba Osaka and First Stage winners Urawa Reds in the group stage.
Meanwhile, FC Tokyo can qualify for the tournament with a February 9 playoff win against either Chonburi FC or Yangon United.
Sanfrecce will open their fourth campaign at home against the winner of Group F’s play-off on February 23, while Reds will host Sydney FC on February 24.
Gamba and FC Tokyo (pending a play-off win) will both play their opening matches in South Korea at Suwon Bluewings and Jeonbuk Motors respectively.
The four J1 clubs, who will also be seeded in the quarterfinals of the J.League Yamazaki Nabisco Cup, will be looking to participate as Asian champions in the 2016 FIFA Club World Cup, which will again be hosted by Japan in December.