Indian Super League team ATK Mohun Bagan was on Wednesday clubbed with Bangladesh’s Basundhara Kings, Maldives’ Maziya S&RC and one yet-to-qualify side in the Group D of this season’s AFC Cup.
The group stage draw of the continent’s second-tier club competition involving 39 teams – an increase of three from 2019 – was held online.
The Group D (South Zone) matches of the AFC Cup will commence on May 14 at a yet-to-be-decided centralised venue.
The winner of the group after a single round-robin league will advance to the knock-out stage.
Fellow ISL side Bengaluru FC could be the yet-to-qualify side as they face the winner of the play-off preliminary round one clash between Nepal Army Club and Sri Lanka Police in the preliminary round two on April 14.
In the other preliminary round two clash, Bangladesh’s Abahani Dhaka will face the winner of Maldives’ Club Eagles and Bhutan’s Thimphu City.
The winners of the two preliminary round two matches will square off in a play-off clash on April 21 and the winner of that game will join the other three clubs in Group D.
ATK Mohun Bagan took Mohun Bagan’s AFC Cup group stage slot which they earned as I-League winners last season.
As a result the qualifying preliminary round two slot which was kept for the champions of ISL champions – that is ATK – went to Bengaluru FC, the third-place finishers in the league phase of the ISL 2019-’20 season.
The AFC Cup play-offs slot should have gone to the runners-up of the league phase of ISL 2019-20 season. But since ATK had finished runners-up, Bengaluru FC got the chance to be in the play-offs stage of the AFC Cup.
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