Originally published by Malay Mail Online
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 17 — Japanese League champions Kawasaki Frontale are among the obstacles Super League champions Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) have to face in the AFC Champions League (ACL) 2022.
In the draw conducted today, the two teams were drawn into Group I together with eight-time China League champions Guangzhou FC and the winners of the play-off between South Korea’s Ulsan Hyundai and Port FC of Thailand.
This is the Southern Tigers’ fourth appearance in ACL since they made their debut in the most prestigious Asian clubs tournament in 2019.
Last season, the squad coached by Benjamin Mora finished third in Group G, behind Nagoya Grampus of Japan and runners-up Pohang Steelers of South Korea.
Defending champions Al-Hilal SFC of Saudi Arabia have been drawn in Group A alongside Tajikistan’s FC Istiklol, Qatar’s Al Rayyan and the winners of the play-off between the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) Sharjah FC and Iraq’s Al Zawraa.
Meanwhile, four teams who will be making their debut in the tournament are Al Faisaly of Saudi Arabia, Mumbai City FC (India), Ahal FC (Turkmenistan) and Melbourne City (Australia).
In another development, Malaysia Cup 2021 champions Kuala Lumpur (KL) City FC and last season’s Super League runners-up Kedah Darul Aman (KDA) FC have been into Groups H and G respectively of the AFC Cup 2022.
The City Boys, under the guidance of Bojan Hodak, will face Tampines Rovers of Singapore, Indonesia’s PSM Makassar and the winners of the play-off between two Myanmar clubs, Shan United and Ayeyawady United.
Bali United of Indonesia, the Philippines’ Kaya FC Iloilo and the winners of the play-off between representatives from Cambodia and Laos will join KDA FC in the group.
The following are the draws for ACL 2022 and AFC Cup 2022:
AFC Champions League
Group A: Al-Hilal SFC (KSA), FC Istiklol (TJK), Al Rayyan (QAT) and winners of play-off three (UAE/IRQ).
Group B: Al Jazira (UAE), Al Shabab (KSA), Mumbai City (IND) and Air Force Club (IRQ).
Group C: Foolad Khouzestan FC (IRN), Shabab Al Ahli Dubai (UAE), Ahal FC (TKM) and Al Gharafa (QAT).
Group D: Al Duhail FC (QAT), Sepahan FC (IRN), Pakhtakor (UZB), winners of play-off one (KSA/SYR).
Group E: Al Sadd FC (QAT), Al Faisaly FC (KSA), Al Wehdat (JOR) and winners of play-off two (UAE/UZB).
Group F: Shandong Taishan FC (CHN), Urawa Red Diamonds (JPN), Lion City Sailors (SIN) and winners of play-off four (KOR/THA).
Group G: BG Pathum (THA), Jeonnam Dragons (KOR), United City FC (PHI), Melbourne City FC (AUS).
Group H: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (KOR), Yokohama F. Marinos (JPN), Hoang Anh Gia Lai (VIE) and winners of play-off one (CHN/AUS/PHI).
Group I: Kawasaki Frontale (JPN), Guangzhou FC (CHN), JDT (MAS) and winners of play-off three (KOR/THA).
Group J: Shanghai Port FC (CHN), Chiangrai United (THA), Kitchee SC (HKG) and winners of play-off two (JPN/AUS/MYA).
Group A: Al Ansar (LBN), Al Seeb Club (OMA), Jableh (SYR) and Kuwait Club (KUW).
Group B: Al Riffa (BAH), Shabab Al Khalil (PLE), Dhofar Club (OMA) and Al Arabi SC (KUW).
Group C: Tishreen (SYR), Nejmeh (LBN), East Riffa (BHR) and Hilal Al-Quds (PLE).
Group D: Gokulam Kerala (IND), Bashundhara Kings (BAN), Maziya Sports and Recreation (MDV) and winners of play-off among six teams from South Asia.
Group E: Altyn Asyr (TKM), FC CSKA (TJK), PFC Neftchi (KGZ) and winners of play-off among two teams from Uzbekistan, FC Nasaf and PFC Sogdiana.
Group F: FC Khujand (TJK), FC Dordio (KGZ) and Kopetdag (TKM).
Group G: Kaya FC Iloilo (PHI), Bali United FC (IND), KDA FC (MAS) and winners of play-off between representatives from Cambodia and Laos.
Group H: KL CITY FC (MAS), Shan United FC/ Ayewady United FC (MYA), Tampines Rovers (SIN) and PSM Makassar (IDN).
Group I: Viettel City (VIE), Hougang United (SIN), Phnom Penh Crown FC (CAM) and Hantharwady United FC (MYA).
Group J: Eastern Long Lions (HKG), Must CPK (MAC), Tainan City FC (TPE) and winners of play-off (KHG/MNG). — Bernama