The exciting AFC Champions League (East) Group Stage begins today in centralised venues when three-time champions FC Pohang Steelers of South Korea face debutants Ratchaburi FC of Thailand in Group G at the Rajamangala Stadium at 5pm (local time).
At the same venue, the 2020 Malaysian Super League winners Johor Darul Ta’zim begin their campaign against Japan’s Nagoya Grampus four hours later while Shanghai Port FC of China will meet Kaya FC-Iloilo of the Philippines in the Playoff Stage the following day with the winner earning a coveted spot in Group F.
The Group J action resumes on June 24 when two-time AFC Champions League winners Guangzhou FC of China take on Japan’s Cerezo Osaka, who are returning to the Group Stage for the first time since 2018, in what promises to be a captivating encounter at 5pm.
Hong Kong’s Kitchee SC and Port FC, one of four Thai clubs playing in the AFC Champions League, will go head-to-head at 9pm at the Buriram Stadium in Thailand.
In Group H, Singapore’s Tampines Rovers FC will make their first appearance in the Group Stage against 2008 winners Gamba Osaka of Japan on June 25 at the Lokomotiv Stadium in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, before 2006 and 2016 winners Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC of South Korea face Thailand’s Chiangrai United at the Bunyodkor Stadium, also in Tashkent at 9pm.
All eyes will be on title holders Ulsan Hyundai FC of South Korea when they begin their search for a third Continental title against 2020 V. League 1 winners and debutants Viettel FC of Vietnam in a highly anticipated Group F match on June 26 at 9pm.
BG Pathum United, the host of the group, will play against the eventual winner of the Playoff Stage between Shanghai Port FC and Kaya FC-Iloilo at the Pathum Thani Stadium at 5pm.
In Group I, United City FC of the Philippines will make their first Group Stage appearance against last year’s Quarterfinalist Beijing FC at the Bunyodkor Stadium in Tashkent at 7pm while Japan’s Kawasaki Frontale will take on Daegu FC of Korea Republic two hours later.
The Round of 16 cast in the AFC Champions League (West) has already been identified following the successful staging of the Group Stage which concluded in April.