Staggered ACL grouping Jeonbuk ‘wide open’-Ulsan, Pohang, Incheon ‘cautious’…Ronaldo, Neymar, etc. ‘ready to scramble’

It’s been a mixed bag for K League clubs looking to reach the top of Asia. Jeonbuk Hyundai has been drawn against easy opposition in the East Asian region of the 2023-2024 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL), while Ulsan Hyundai, Pohang Steelers, and Incheon United have been drawn in more challenging groups.

Jeonbuk was drawn in Group F with Bangkok United (Thailand), Lion City (Singapore), and Kitchee FC (Hong Kong) after the tournament’s group draw was announced by the AFC on Thursday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The team is expected to have a head start in their quest for a third title after winning in 2006 and 2016.

However, Ulsan, a two-time champion (2012-2020) with Jeonbuk, will once again compete in Group I with Kawasaki Frontale (Japan) and Johor Darul Ta’zim (Malaysia). Ulsan, who finished third in their group, will be hoping to redeem themselves, but it won’t be easy as the other team is dark horse BG Pathum (Thailand).

Pohang and Incheon are not smiling either. Pohang, which boasts the most K League titles in the competition (three), including the Asian Club Championship (1997-1998-2009), will face Chinese Super League champions Wuhan Shanzhen and Vietnamese unified champions Hanoi FC in Group J, as well as defending champions Urawa Reds (Japan).

Incheon, who qualified for the ACL for the first time since its inception via the playoffs (PO), will face J-League powerhouse Yokohama Marinos and Shandong Taishan (China), led by Choi Kang-hee, in Group G. Kaya FC (Philippines) has it easier.토스카지노

There are also a number of ‘superstars’ heading to Saudi Arabia for the ACL. Cristiano Ronaldo and Sadio Mane’s Alnasr have been drawn with Persepolis (Iran) and Alduhail SC (Qatar) in Group E, while Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kante’s Al Ittihad are in Group C with Sepahan SC (Iran) and Air Force FC (Iraq). Neymar and Khalidou Koulibaly’s Al-Hilal were drawn in Group D with Al-Nassaji (Iran) and Mumbai City (India).

The group stage of the ACL, which has been reinstated after a 20-year hiatus, will begin next month on Nov. 18-20 and conclude in December. The teams will play six home and away matches, with the top of each group advancing directly to the round of 16, and the top three teams in the second place also surviving. The round of 16 tournament will be played next February.

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