Two-time Indian Super League champions Chennaiyin FC take on Sri Lanka’s Colombo FC in the 2019 AFC Cup qualifying playoff round first leg in Colombo on Wednesday.

This is Chennaiyin’s debut AFC Cup campaign following their 2017-18 ISL title success and are placed along with Colombo in the South Asian Zone of the competition.

Chennaiyin concluded its 2018-’19 ISL campaign with a 1-0 defeat to FC Goa last week, with the focus now shifting to their maiden AFC Cup campaign. The away side’s players arrived in Colombo on Monday evening from Goa, having extended their stay there to prepare for the AFC Cup qualifying playoff against the Sri Lankan side.

“The boys are in good spirits, having arrived in Sri Lanka ahead of what is a very big game for us against Colombo FC. We are honoured to be the first ISL team to have qualified for the AFC Cup and are hopeful of securing a victory that puts us in a commanding position in the second leg. We are aware of the quality Colombo FC possess and expect a good fight from them tomorrow,” said Chennaiyin head coach John Gregory ahead of the first leg clash in Sri Lanka.

Chennaiyin welcomed back Indian midfielder Dhanpal Ganesh into the squad for the qualifying playoff against Colombo, after he missed out on the 2018-’19 ISL season with a knee injury.

Australian Chris Herd, who joined CFC in the January transfer window, will be the club’s Asian player in the qualifier with the Brazilian trio of Mailson Alves, Eli Sabia and Raphael Augusto being the other three foreigners.

Colombo had defeated Bhutan’s Transport United 9-2 on aggregate in the preliminary round to set up the clash with Chennaiyin.

The second leg of the qualifying playoff will be played in Ahmedabad on March 13.