Originally published by BLOGGERS JOURNAL PH
KAYA FC-Iloilo got a boost of making it to the AFC Champions League for the second straight year after the Asian Football Confederation yesterday announced the withdrawal of China’s Changchun Yatai FC from the continental club tournament playoff.
Instead of needing to hurdle two matches, Kaya’s win over Australia’s Sydney FC in the preliminary stage tie on March 8 at the Netstrata Jubilee Stadium in Sydney will be enough for the Philippine club to gatecrash in Group H.
Kaya, the Copa Paulino Alcantara holders, hopes to join reigning Philippines Football League champion United City FC in the group stage.
“The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has taken note of the Chinese Football Association (CFA)’s confirmation of Changchun Yatai FC’s withdrawal from participating in this season’s AFC Champions League,” the AFC said in a statement.
“Therefore, in accordance with the AFC Champions League 2022 Competition Regulations, the Playoff Stage match between Changchun Yatai FC and the winners of the Preliminary Stage tie between Australia’s Sydney FC and Kaya FC-Iloilo from the Philippines, which was scheduled to take place on March 15, 2022, has been cancelled.”
If it beats Sydney FC, which is currently in fifth place in Australia’s A-League, Kaya will be bracketed with two-time winners Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors of South Korea, Yokohama F Marinos of Japan and Hoang Anh Gia Lai of Vietnam.
The centralized matches for Group H will be played in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam from April 15 to May 1.
A loss will relegate Kaya to the AFC Cup which will take place in June.
In last year’s ACL qualifiers, Kaya achieved a breakthrough by besting China’s Shanghai Port FC to be part of the prestigious club competition.