The race for AFC Champions League and AFC Cup Group Stage slots begins
The exciting and biggest-ever editions of the AFC Champions League and AFC Cup get underway tomorrow with aspiring clubs eyeing a coveted place in the Group Stage.
Qatar’s Al Gharafa and Uzbekistan’s AGMK FC will kick-off the first Playoff match as they aim to be part of Asia’s leading 40 clubs in the AFC Champions League Group Stage when they meet at the Suhaim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha, Qatar at 6.20pm (local time).
2007 AFC Champions League Semi-finalist Al Wahda FSCC from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will also be in action on the same day when they host Iraq’s Al Zawraa Club at the Al Nahyan Stadium at 7.40pm.
The action continues when Saudi Arabia’s Al Wehda FC face three-time AFC Cup winners Air Force Club from Iraq at the King Abdulaziz Sports City in Makkah at 8.45pm while Foolad Khouzestan FC from the Islamic Republic of Iran go up against Al Ain FC from the UAE on April 10 at the Prince Faisal Bin Fahd Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, the AFC Cup will mark its eagerly anticipated return after more than a year when Nepal’s Tribhuvan Army FC take on Sri Lanka’s SL Police SC in the Preliminary Stage at the Dashrath Stadium in Kathmandu, Nepal at 5.30pm on April 7 with the winners facing India’s JSW Bengaluru FC on April 14.
Club Eagles from Maldives will also be in action against Bhutan’s Thimphu City FC at the National Stadium in Male at 4pm where the winner meets Bangladesh’s Abahani Limited Dhaka.
The first of the AFC Cup playoffs will be between Palestine’s Al Ama’ari Center and Kuwait SC which will take place at the Faisal Al-Husseini Stadium on April 20 at 10pm.
The AFC Champions League (West) Group Stage will start on April 14 while the AFC Cup Group Stage begins on May 14 with both competitions played in centralised venues.
In the East Region, the AFC has postponed the AFC Champions League Group Stage matches, which are now scheduled to take place from June 21 to July 11, taking into consideration the existing travel restrictions and quarantine challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.