13 dec 12:42


Tags :  AFC CUP
Kuala Lumpur: Reigning AFC Cup champions Air Force Club from Iraq have been handed a difficult start to their title defence following the official draw for the competition’s 2017 edition in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday.

With the revamped AFC Cup now split into zones, Air Force Club - who last month defeated India’s JSW Bengaluru FC to claim their first continental crown - find themselves in Group B, where they will have Bahrain's Al Hidd (BHR), Safa SC from Lebanon and and Syrian side Al Wahda for company.

Meanwhile, defeated finalists JSW Bengaluru FC will look to make amends for their 2016 disappointment when they begin their latest title assault from the South Zone and Group E. They will face Maldives outfit Maziya S&R, Abhani Limited Dhaka from Bangladesh and a play-off winner in the Group Stage should they fail to qualify for the AFC Champions League through the Preliminary and Play-off stages.

West Zone
Group A

1. Al Zawraa Club (IRQ)
2. Al Ahli (JOR)
3. Al Jaish (SYR)
4. Play-off winner (OMA/PLE)

Group B
1. Al Hidd Club (BHR)
2. Air Force Club (IRQ)
3. Safa SC (LIB)
4. Al Wahda (SYR)

Group C
1. Al Wehdat or Al Jazeera (JOR)
2. Muharraq Club (BHR)
3. Saham (OMA)
4. Nejmeh SC (LIB)

Central Zone
Group D

1. FC Istiklol (TJK)
2. Altyn Asyr FC (TKM)
3. FC Alay (KGZ)
4. Play-off winner (TJK/TKM/KGZ/AFG)

South Zone
Group E

1. JSW Bengaluru FC or Kingfisher East Bengal (IND)
2. Maziya S&R (MDV)
3. Abhani Limited Dhaka (BAN)
4. Play-off winner (IND/MDV/BHU/SRI)

Group F

1. Johor Darul Ta'zim or Kedah DA FA (MAS)
2. Magwe FC (MYA)
3. Global FC or Loyola merlco Sparks FC (PHL)
4. Play-off winner (LAO/CAM)

Group G
1. Hanoi T&T SHB Da Nang (VIE)
2. Felda United FC (MAS)
3. Tampines Rovers FC or Geylang International FC (SIN)
4. Ceres Negros FC (PHL)

Group H
1. Yadanarbon FC or Yangon United FC (MYA)
2. Than Quang Ninh (VIE)
3. Lanexang United FC (LAO)
4. Play-off winner (SIN/CAM)

East Zone
Group I

1. 4.25 SC (PRK)
2. Rovers FC (GUM)
3. Taipower Company (TPE)
4. Play-off winner (PRK/TPE/MNG)

For the AFC Cup’s 2017 format, the eventual winners of the West Zone will qualify for the final, with the top teams from the ASEAN, South, Central and East Zones facing each other to decide the other finalist.

Knockout Stage: Zonal Semi-finals (West Asia zone and ASEAN zone)
In the group stages, there will be 12 teams in three groups. The following apply:

No country protection for Zonal Semi-Finals
Home-and-away matches will be played to decide the winners for the Zonal Semi-Finals
The winner in each group and one best second-placed club among the three groups (total four teams) will qualify for the Zonal Semi-Finals
The Zonal Final for the West Asian Zone and ASEAN Zone will be determined by draw in June 2017
AFC Cup 2017 Preliminary Stage & Playoff Schedule

Play-off Stage

PO 3.1 (January 31, 2017) Shabab Al Khalil (PLE) v Al Suwaiq (OMA)

PO 3.2 (February 7, 2017) Al Suwaiq (OMA) v Shabab Al Khalil (PLE)

Play-off Stage

PO 2.1 (January 30, 2017) Phnom Penh Crown (CAM) v Home United (SIN)

PO 2.2 (February 7, 2017) Home United (SIN) v Phnom Penh Crown (CAM)

PO 3.1 (January 31, 2017) Boeungket Angkor (CAM) v Lao Toyota (LAO)

PO 3.2 (February 7, 2017) Lao Toyota (LAO) v Boeungket Angkor (CAM)

Preliminary Stage

PS 1.1 (January 31, 2017) Shaheen Asmayee (AFG) v FC Hosilot (TJK)

PS 1.2 (February 7, 2017) FC Hosilot (TJK) v Shaheen Asmayee (AFG)

PS 2.1 (January 31, 2017) Dordoi FC (KGZ) v Balkan FC (TKM)

PS 2.2 (February 7, 2017) Balkan FC (TKM) v Dordoi FC (KGZ)

Play-off Stage
PO 1.1 (February 21, 2017) Winner PS 2 v Winner PS 1

PO 1.2 (February 28, 2017) Winner PS 1 v Winner PS 2

Preliminary Stage

PS 1.1 (January 31, 2017) Colombo FC (SRI) v Mohun Bagan (IND)

PS 1.2 (February 7, 2017) Mohun Bagan (IND) v Colombo FC (SRI)

PS 2.1 (January 31, 2017) Thimphu City (BHU) v Club Valencia (MDV)

PS 2.2 (February 7, 2017) Club Valencia (MDV) v Thimphu City (BHU)

Play-off Stage
PO 1.1 (February 21, 2017) Winner PS 2 v Winner PS 1

PO 1.2 (February 28, 2017) Winner PS 1 v Winner PS 2

Preliminary Stage

PS 1.1 (January 31, 2017) Erchim FC (MNG) v Tatung FC (TPE)

PS 1.2 (February 7, 2017) Tatung FC (TPE) v Erchim FC (MNG)

Play-off Stage
PO 1.1 (February 21, 2017) Winner PS 2 v Kigwancha SC (PRK)

PO 1.2 (February 28, 2017) Kigwancha SC (PRK) v Winner PS 2



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