Monday, February 20, 2012

AFC Champs League & AFC Cup Groups and Thai Fixtures

AFC Champions League
Group A: Al Jazira (UAE), Al Rayyan (QAT), Esteghlal (IRN), Nasaf (UZB)
Group B:  Al Arabi (QAT), Al Ittihad (KSA), Baniyas (UAE),  Pakhtakor (UZB)
Group C: Al Ahli (KSR),  Al Nasr (UAE), Foolad Sepahan (IRN), Lekhwiya (QAT)
Group D: Al Gharafa (QAT), Al Hilal (KSA), Al Shabab Al Arabi (UAE), Piroozi Athletic (IRN)
Group E: Adelaide United (AUS), Bunyodkor (UZB), Gamba Osaka (JPN), Pohang Steelers (KOR)
Group F: Beijing Guoan (CHN), Brisbane Roar (AUS), FC Tokyo (JPN), Ulsan Hyundai (KOR)
Group G: Central Coast Mariners (AUS), Nagoya Grampus (JPN), Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma (KOR), Tianjin Teda (CHN)
Group H: Buriram United (THA), Guangzhou Evergrande (CHN), Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (KOR), Kashiwa Reysol (JPN)

7 Mar - Buriram United v Kashiwa Reysol
21 Mar - Guangzhou Evergrande v Buriram United
4 Apr - Buriram United v Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
17 Apr - Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors v Buriram United
1 May - Kashiwa Reysol v Buriram United
15 May - Buriram United v Guangzhou Evergrande

Buriram United have been handed a tough task as they have been drawn alongside the 2011 champions of China, Japan and South Korea. It would be a remarkable achievement for the Thunder Castle if they could finish in the top 2 and qualify for the next round. Any points picked up on the road would be a massive bonus so the importance for Buriram will be collecting points at home. March and April are hot months in Thailand and I doubt any of the three visiting sides in Group H will relish playing in the sticky tropical climate of Thailand.

Group A: Al Qadsia (KUW), Al Ittihad (SYR), Al Faisaly (JOR), Al Suwaiq (OMA)
Group B: East Bengal (IND), Kazma (KUW), Arbil (IRQ), Al Oruba (YEM)
Group C: Al Ahed (LIB), Al Ettifaq (KSA), Kuwait SC (KWA), VB Addu (MDV)
Group D: Neftchi (UZB), Salgaocar (IND), AL Arouba (OMA), Al Wahdat (JOR)
Group E: Al Shorta (SYR), Safa (LIB), Al Tilal (YEM), Al Zawraa (IRQ)
Group F: Kitchee (HKG), Terengganu (MAS), Song Lam Nghe An (VIE), Tampines (SIN)
Group G: Yangon United (MYA), Chonburi (THA), Citizen AA (HKG), Home United (SIN)
Group H: Kelantan (MAS) Ayeyawady United (MYA), Arema (IDN), Navibank Saigon (VIE)

7 Mar - Yangon United v Chonburi
21 Mar - Chonburi v Home United
3 Apr - Chonburi v Citizen
11 Apr - Citizen v Chonburi
24 Apr Chonburi v Yangon United
8 May - Home United v Chonburi

Chonburi's draw in the AFC Cup is far kinder and the Sharks should be able to negotiate their way out of this group. Citizen AA finished 6th in the 2011 Hong Kong First Division, Yangon United 3rd in Myanmar National League while Home United finished runners up to Tampines Rovers in the S-league. The trip to Singapore will reunite Chonburi's Ludo with his old club Home United. The Cameroonian spent two years with The Protectors back in the late noughties.

The group draw and fixtures have been taken from website:

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