Viettel FC enters AFC Champions League group of death

By Kim Hoa   January 28, 2021 | 01:30 am PT
Viettel FC enters AFC Champions League group of death
Viettel FC (in red) during a V. League game with Hoang Anh Gia Lai on October 9, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong.
Difficult challenges are awaiting V. League champions Viettel FC after they were grouped with tough AFC Champions League opponents.

In the group stage draw of AFC Champions League (ACL) on Wednesday evening, Viettel was put into group F with South Korean giant Ulsan Huyndai, Thailand's BG Pathum and a play-off winner.

Ulsan Huyndai were the champions of ACL 2020, beating many strong teams like Japan’s Vissel Kobe and Iranian club Persepolis FC to lift the title. Ulsan Huyndai is the biggest contender to win ACL this season.

Thai club BG Pathum is in high form this season, leading Thai League with seven recent consecutive wins. The remaining team will either be Australia, China or the Philippines.

The 2021 AFC Champions League will see 40 teams compete in the group stage, an increase of eight compared to last year’s tournament, with one additional group each in the East and West zones.

The tournament will begin with the preliminary stage on April 7. The group stage is set to kick off on April 14, with games to be played at centralized venues.

The winner will automatically enter the qualifying play-offs for 2022 ACL and get a spot at 2021 FIFA Club World Cup in Japan. If the champion is from Japan, the runner-up will also qualify.

This is the first time for Viettel FC to compete in an ACL tournament. They qualified for the competition after winning V. League 2020.

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