No Australian club has made it to the round of 16 of the AFC Champions League after a winless opening three games but the group stage campaign isn’t over yet for Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC.

The Football Sack looks at international teams competing in the ACL and discover that it is possible to make amends and progress further in the tournament.

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FC Bunyodkor – Group C, 2011

Draws against Al-Wahda and Persepolis plus a loss against Al-Ittihad left the Uzbekistan side on two points from their opening three matches.

Bunyodkor turned their form around as they got a win against Persepolis, went on to defeat Al-Wahda and drew with Al-Ittihad meaning they only dropped two points from the remaining three matches. Bunyodkor ended up in second place on nine points, which was two behind group winner Al-Ittihad.

Buriram United – Group E, 2013

Buriram managed to finish second with a single win in what was an extremely tight group. FC Seoul finished on top comfortably with 11 points but second place could’ve been taken by anyone.

Buriram did start slow though, they had draws against Vegalta Sendai and Seoul and then a loss against Jiangsu Saintly left Buriram on two points from three matches. The Thai club were able to go undefeated for the rest of the group stage, highlighted by getting one back on Jiangsu.

Despite that being their only win of the campaign along with the total accumulation of four draws, Buriram finished in second thanks to a superior goal difference over Jiangsu.

FC Bundyodkor – Group B, 2014

We’ve learnt that Bundyodkor are no stranger to slow starts and they completed another comeback, this time by the barest of margins. They were in all sorts of strife due to losses against El Jaish and Foolad and draws versus Al-Fateh and Foolad which left Bundyodkor on two points from four matches.

They needed a miracle in their last couple of matches and they got it with wins against Al-Fateh and El Jaish, but Bunyodkor nudged themselves into second by scoring one more goal than El Jaish. Both teams were equal on eight points and had the same goal difference of 0 meaning a tiebreak came into play.

Shabab Al-Ahil – Group D, 2015

The United Arab Emirates club had luck on their side with a greater amount of goals scored than third placed Nasaf Qarshi FC and was an indicator that it wasn’t smooth sailing for Shabab. They had draws to Al-Ahli Saudi and Nasaf and a loss to Tractor Sazi that left them on two points from three games.

Shabab’s next few results were an improvement though by winning against Nasaf and Tractor. Despite having a blemish with a loss to Al-Ahli, Shabab made it to second spot on eight points but only slightly.

Al-Duhail SC (Lekhwiya) – Group B, 2016

Lekhwiya finished in second spot of the group pretty comfortably despite having a shaky beginning. Zob Ahan Esfahan were the dominant team and a factor for Lekhwiya’s early results. A loss first up and draw in back-to-back clashes against Zob Ahan plus a share of the spoils with Al-Nassr had Lekhwiya on two points from three games.

The Qatari club eventually showed why they deserved to qualify past the group stage by going undefeated in the remaining few matches with wins against Al-Nassr and Bunyodkor and a stalemate against the latter opposition.

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Liam Watson is covering Melbourne Victory this season while completing Media and Communications at La Trobe University.