Vietnamese clubs expected to sail through AFC Cup group stage

By Vy Anh   January 27, 2021 | 08:15 pm GMT+7
Vietnamese clubs expected to sail through AFC Cup group stage
Hanoi FC (in purple) reached the semifinals of AFC Cup 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa.
Results from AFC Cup's group stage draw will see Hanoi FC and Saigon FC compete against fairly weaker opponents.

Hanoi FC will join group G with Indonesian champions Bali United, Cambodian champions Boeung Ket and a play-off winner. Saigon FC will join group H with Malaysian side Kedah Darul Aman, Singapore’s Lion City Sailors and a play-off winner. The play-off winners of both groups would be either from Laos, Myanmar or Brunei.

The group stage of AFC Cup 2021’s ASEAN Zone is set for June 22 to 28, the time V. League enters its mid-season break. Group stage matches will be played in centralized venues and clubs will have to undergo quarantine for two weeks.

The AFC Cup 2021 group stage draw result. Photo courtesy of Asian Football Confederation.

AFC Cup 2021 group stage draw results. Photo courtesy of the Asian Football Confederation.

Hanoi participated in AFC Cup as the National Cup winner and runner-up of V. League 2020, while Saigon peaked at third in the league last year.

This is the first time of Saigon in AFC Cup. For Hanoi, this is their fifth appearance in the tournament. In the 2019 edition of AFC Cup, they reached the semifinals.

In this year’s edition, the AFC Cup group stage has increased the number of clubs to 39, three more compared to previous tournaments, with a new Central Asia Zone group. The champions of AFC Cup 2021 will also be awarded a place in the preliminary stage of 2022 AFC Champions League.

Last year, AFC Cup 2020 was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, Lebanese club Al-Ahed, having won AFC Cup 2019, are still the title holders.

 
 
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