Photo taken on Dec. 6, 2017 shows the final results of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League 2018 Group Stage Draw in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Xinhua/Chong Voon Chung)
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- Two-time champions Guangzhou Evergrande of China would start their AFC Champions League in 2018 with opponents from South Korea, Japan and Thailand, according to the group stage draw made here on Wednesday.
The Chinese Super League champion was drawn into Group G and set to face Jeju United from South Korea, Thailand's Buriram United and the yet to be determined winner of Japan's Emperor's Cup.
Chinese FA Cup winner Shanghai Shenhua FC was drawn into a difficult Group H with
Sydney FC from Australia, Kashima Antlers of Japan and a play-off team, probably Suwon Samsung Bluewings from South Korea.
Another two Chinese teams, Shanghai SIPG and Tianjin Quanjian FC are hopeful to enter the group stage through the playoffs.
The 2018 AFC Champions League will be without a defending champion, as the recently crowned Urawa Red Diamonds failed to finish top four in the Japanese League and had been eliminated from the ongoing Emperor's Cup.
Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal, who lost to Urawa Red Diamonds over two legs in this year's final, will start their campaign in the West Zone's Group D where they have Esteghlal from Iran, Qatar's Al Rayyan and the play-off winner for company.