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22 July 2024

AFC Champions League and AFC Cup 2023/24: The Road to the Group Stages

Published
By E247

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has today confirmed the battle lines of the Preliminary and Playoff Stages of the AFC Cup™ and AFC Champions League™ 2023/24.

The race to secure a place in the AFC Champions League™ 2023/24 Group Stage will begin in Hong Kong, China where Hong Kong Rangers will host Vietnam’s Haiphong FC on August 15, 2023, in the Preliminary Stage with the winners sealing a date with Korea Republic’s Incheon United FC in the Playoff Stage on August 22.

Similarly, Lee Man, also from Hong Kong, China, will contend with Bali United from Indonesia on August 16, in the Preliminary Stage following which the winners will progress to face defending champions Urawa Red Diamonds in the Playoff Stage on August 22.

Also on August 22, China PR’s Zhejiang FC will face off against Port FC from Thailand while Shanghai Port FC from China PR will host Thailand’s BG Pathum United in the Playoff Stage for a coveted place in the AFC Champions League™ 2023/24 Group Stage.

Moving on to the West Zone Preliminary Stage, which will see all matches played on August 15, Shabab Al Ahli from the United Arab Emirates will host Jordan’s Al Wehdat with the winners advancing to face Al Nassr from Saudi Arabia in the Playoff Stage, where all matches are scheduled for August 22.

The next Preliminary Stage encounter pits Sharjah FC from the United Arab Emirates against Bashundhara Kings from Bangladesh with the winners facing Tractor FC from the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Playoff Stage.

Uzbekistan’s AGMK FC will host AFC Cup™ 2022 titleholders, Al Seeb Club from Oman in the Preliminary Stage with the winners going on to compete in the Playoff Stage against Al Arabi SC from Qatar. The final Playoff Stage battle will see Al Wakrah SC from Qatar square off with Navbahor from Uzbekistan.

Meanwhile, the AFC Cup™ 2023/24 action will kick off in the South Zone where Nepal’s Machhindra FC will host Paro FC from Bhutan on August 8 with the winners sealing a date with Mohun Bagan from India on August 15 in the Preliminary Stage Round 2.

Abahani Limited Dhaka from Bangladesh will face off against Maldives’ Club Eagles on the same day in the Preliminary Stage Round 2 for a place in the Playoff Stage which is scheduled for August 22.

Similarly on August 22, Al Khaldiya SC from Bahrain will host Al Nahda from Oman while Shabab Al Khalil from Palestine will face a Syrian side to be determined in due course, with the winners of both matches in the West Zone sealing their spots in the AFC Cup™ Group Stage.

In the Central Zone, Merw FC from Turkmenistan will play host to FC Alay from the Kyrgyz Republic on August 15 in the Preliminary Stage with the winners advancing to face FC Khujand from Tajikistan on August 22 for a place in the Group Stage.

The action in the ASEAN Zone will commence on August 16 when Cambodia’s Phnom Penh Crown FC take on Young Elephants FC from Laos and Yangon United FC from Myanmar prepare to host a yet-to-be determined side from Brunei Darussalam in the Preliminary Stage.

The two winners from the Preliminary Stage will then battle away in the Playoff Stage against Singapore’s Tampines Rovers FC and Indonesia’s PSM Makassar respectively on August 23, with the winners clinching their berths in the Group Stage.

Finally in the East Zone, Taichung Futuro FC from Chinese Taipei will battle against Macau side Monte Carlo in the Playoff Stage on August 23 for a spot in the Group Stage.

Meanwhile, the slot allocations for the AFC Champions League™ 2023/24 have been confirmed and can be accessed here while the slot allocations for the AFC Cup™ 2023/24 are available here.