Originally published by Manila Bulletin Online
United City will take on the league champions of Australia and Thailand and South Korea’s cup winner in Group G of the AFC Champions League which starts later this year.
The club which gained a direct slot to the ACL was drawn Monday, Jan. 17 along with Melbourne City, Jeonnam Dragons and BG Pathum United for the group stage which could start mid-April in a centralized venue.
Melbourne City ruled Australia’s A-League, defeating Sydney FC in the Grand Final, while Jeonnam captured the Korean FA Cup after prevailing over Daegu in their two-legged final.
Pathum United was the champion of Thailand’s 2020-21 Thai League 1 season, and is familiar to Filipino football fans having faced Kaya-Iloilo in last year’s ACL group stage.
United City got the direct slot to the Champions League by virtue of winning the Philippines Football League title in 2020. No league was held last year due to restrictions brought by the pandemic.
UCFC placed third in Group I of last year’s ACL which was held under a centralized venue in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, facing the likes of crack squads Kawasaki Frontale of Japan and Daegu FC of South Korea along with China’s Beijing Guoan, which opted to send its players from the youth level.
Behind Bienve Marañon, Stephan Schrock and Mark Hartmann, United City produced four points after drawing and winning over Beijing.
But the club won’t be having Marañon for this year’s campaign after the naturalized striker left United City amid a rumored move to a club in Malaysia.