Guangzhou Evergrande vs Kashima Antlers 23/5/2017
Two-time champions Guangzhou avoided what would have been an embarrassing group stage exit with a 2-2 draw against Suwon on the final day. They will be without the influential Zheng Zhi as the first leg of this Sino-Japanese showdown unfolds. Kashima are also missing a pair of key midfielders – their tenacious tackler Leo Silva and creator Yasushi Endo. Antlers qualified as Group E winners only on the last day with a victory over Thailand champions Muang Thong United. Both Guangzhou and Kashima last met in the group stage two seasons ago. Guangzhou won 4-3 at home, while Kashima returned the favour in the return fixture, a 2-1 win.