Champions League draw: hard luck for Thai clubs

AFC News Das Thai Team von 20100


Hard luck if you take a look at the draw results of Tuesdays AFC Champions League and AFC Cup draw for the 2012 season. Both Thai representatives are to face tough challenges.

Joy everywhere when a few days ago it became public that Thailand receives an automatic entry for the AFC Champions League group stage 2012. And with some luck, it could have been even two. Ahead of yesterdays draw held at AFC headquarter in Malaysia, some surprising withdraw were announced. Persipura Jayapura from Indonesia is excluded from the competition and therefore the qualification round, on advice from the Indonesian FA for joining the breakaway "Liga Super". Chinese representative Liaoning Whowin withdrew independently from the competition being crossly about to play in the play-offs rather than getting a direct entry.

Therefore there remained three lots, Pohang Steelers, Adelaide United and the 2nd representative of Thailand. At short notice the AFC had to change plans and allowed to decide the lot on who would receive another group entry. It fell on Adelaide. The result of the lot means the winner of the Thai FA Cup will clash with 3-time Champions League winner Pohang Steelers. In case Buriram-PEA/United is to win a double championship (TPL and FA Cup), Thai league runners-up steps in. At current stage, that could be either Muang Thong United or Chonburi FC. The game against Pohang take place on 18 February, in Korea. The winner of the match is joining Group E where Adelaide, Bunyodkor and Gamba Osaka already waiting.

The loser automatically plays in the AFC Cup. However, good news at least. In case of a complete play-off to be played, an exit at round one would have meant an exit from the AFC Cup as well. In Group G the opponents are also already certain with Citizen FC (Hong Kong), Yangon United (Myanmar) and Home United (Singapore).

Meanwhile the champion of the Thai Premier League, and who doubts that this will be Buriram-PEA/United, was drawn in Group H of the AFC Champions League. One does not find famous and familiar club names there. Apart from Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, if you like the company team of the well known car maker, and finalist of the AFC elite league 2011. Kashiwa Reysol is the freshly crowned and unfashionable champion of Japan, which like Guangzhou Evergrande from China managed to win the domestic title as newly promoted team. With Argentine Darío Conca the club has one of the most expensive players of the league in the ranks. Group H first matchday is to be played on 6/7 March 2012.

Up to now we had not to deal with the heavyweight of Asian football. Because since our existence no Thai club managed to make it to the group stage of the elite division. Time for change.
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