Bengaluru FC will will face either Nepal Army Club or Sri Lanka Police in a preliminary playoff.
Indian Super League (ISL) outfit ATK Mohun Bagan have been drawn in Group D (South Zone) of the AFC Cup 2021, alongside Bangladesh’s Basundhara Kings, Maldives’ Maziya S&RC and the winners of the playoff round.
Meanwhile, ATKMB’s fellow ISL competitors Bengaluru FC will play in the Preliminary Round 2 against the winners of the qualifying playoff Preliminary Round 1 clash between Nepal Army Club and Sri Lanka Police. Bangladesh’s Abahani Dhaka, who feature ex-BFC star Raphael Augusto and former Kerala Blasters forward Kervens Belfort will take on the winners of the game between Maldives’ Club Eagles and Bhutan’s Thimphu City in the other Preliminary Round 2 clash. Both matches will be held on April 14.
The winners of the Preliminary Round 2 will then lock horns with each other in a playoff. The team who wins that clash will join ATKMB, Basundhara Kings and Maziya S&RC in Group D.
The full draw is as follows:
This year, all AFC Club competitions including the AFC Cup will be held at centralised venues. The group stage matches of the AFC Cup South Zone (Group D) will begin on May 14.
The AFC Cup 2021 ASEAN zonal semi-finals will be held on August 10 and 11 over a single leg. The first leg of the West Zone semi-finals will take place on September 13 and 14. The second leg is scheduled to take place two weeks later.
The two-legged zonal final involving South, Central and East Zone clubs has been planned for August 11 (first leg) and 25 (second leg). The ASEAN single-leg zonal final will take place on August 25. The two-legged West Zonal Final will be held on October 20 (first leg) and November 3 (second leg).
The two-legged Inter-zonal Semi-Finals is scheduled for September 14-15 and 28-29. The Inter-zonal Final (also two-legged) is planned for October 20 (first leg) and November 3 (second leg).
It was Mohun Bagan who won the AFC Cup 2021 group stage slot, following their title win in the 2019-20 I-League. ATK Mohun Bagan took the slot after ATK’s merger with the Mariners in June 2020. Having won the ISL last season, ATK had the qualifying preliminary round two slot which was left vacant following their merger with Mohun Bagan. Bengaluru FC picked it up later on by merit of finishing third in the league.