Football

AFC draw sets up impressive clashes

The AFC CL group stage draw was staged in Malaysia on Wednesday, producing some thrilling groups that Asian football fans will enjoy.

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AFC draw sets up impressive clashes
KARIM JAAFAR AFP

Malaysia hosted the group stage draw for the 2021 AFC Champions League in Kuala Lumpur, with South Korea's Ulsan Hyundai set to defend their coveted title.

For the first time in the tournament's history, 40 teams will be competing during the group stage after a new group was added to both East and West competitions.

The reigning champions Ulsan Hyundai, who defeated Iranian Persepolis in the final game of the previous edition, were drawn with Thailand's BG Pathum United, Vietnam's Viettel FC, and a playoff winner from Group F, while the runners-up Persepolis will compete in a group that comprises Al Rayyan of Qatar, India's FC Goa and a playoff winner in Group E.

2021 AFC Champions League Group Stage Draw

Group A: Al Hilal SFC, Shabab Al Ahli, FC Istiklal, Qatar, and Uzbekistan playoff winner.
Group B: Sharjah, Tractor FC, Pakhtakor, KSA, and Iraq playoff winner.
Group C: Al Duhail SC, Al Ahli Saudi Esteghlal, Al Shorta.
Group D: Al Sadd SC, Al Nassr, Al Wehdat, Iran, and UAE playoff winner.
Group E: Persepolis FC, Al Rayyan, FC Goa, UAE, and Iraq playoff winner.
Group F: Ulsan Hyundai FC, BG Pathum United, Viettel FC, Australia-Philippine-China Playoff winner.
Group G: Jiangsu FC, Nagoya Grampus, Johor Darul Ta'zim, Korea, and Thailand playoff winner.
Group H: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, Gamba Osaka, Tampines Rovers, Sydney FC.
Group I: Kawasaki Frontale, Guangzhou FC, United City FC, Korea, and Thailand playoff winner.
Group J: Shandong Luneng FC, Port FC, Kitchee SC, Japan-Australia-Myanmar playoff Winner.