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Result of the 2011 AFC Champions League and AFC Cup draw

AFC News
On 7 December the draw for the 2011 AFC Champions League and AFC Cup season was held in Malaysia. The two Thai representatives are Muang Thong United (Champion) and Chonburi FC (FA Cup winner).

Although the Asian Football Confederation inspected all participating countries and clubs recently, not much changes are to bee seen in regards to the starting slots. Singapore and Vietnam will not participate the AFC Champions League. Singapore withdrew and Vietnam lost his spot because of insufficient documents. The Vietnam spot was handed out to, no surprise nowadays, Quatar.

AFC Champions League

Thai Premier League Champion Muang Thong United will face Sriwijaya FC in the first qualification round. The Indonesian champ isn't unknown, as Thai Port FC faced them in the 2010 AFC Cup campaign. In the round of the last 16, they were able to beat them by 4-1. In case Muang Thong is able to achieve the same, moving on to the next round, they would have at least a home match. With Al-Ain, the opponent is already fixed. It would mark the return of this club to Thailand since 2003. That year Thai side BEC-Tero Sasana faced Al-Ain in the AFC Champions League final. Thailand national star player Datsakorn Thonglao may keen to give revenge, as he was part of the BEC-Tero squad in 2003.

However, definitely a tough task for Muang Thong but if they would be able to jump the hurdle, they would be in the final group stage. In group F the following clubs are waiting. Hangzhou Greentown (China), Seoul FC (South Korea) and Nagoya Grampus Eight. Nagayo become J-League Champion for the first time in their history and are coached by Dragan Stojković. He was named J-League coach of the year 2010. Not enough, the leagues top-scorer is also playing for Nagoya. The Australian Joshua Kennedy scored 17-times and played for German Bundesliga sides Dynamo Dresden and Nuremberg.

As well as in Europe, if you are kicked out of the Champions League qualification round, you will play in the lower ranked cup competition. In Asia it means AFC Cup. In case of an exit in the first round, the Thai champ will be added to group G of the AFC Cup. Opponents waiting are, Tampines Rovers (Singapore), Victory SC (Maledives) und Hanoi T&T (Vietnam). A second round exit would mean Group F with TSW Pegasus (Hong Kong), Song Lam Nghe An (Vietnam) and V.B. Sports (Maledives).

AFC Cup

For Chonburi the things are much more easier. They don't have to play any qualification and were drawn into group H of the AFC Cup. The first opponent will be Kingfisher East Bengal. The club based in Kolkata is one the prestigious ones in India. However, in their 2010 AFC Cup campaign they left the group stage with no win and goals by 5-20.

South China, the second club Chonburi will have to take on, played against Muang Thong already in 2010 AFC Cup. Chonburi already made  their experiences with clubs from Hong Kong. In 2009 Chonburi played East China in the AFC Cup group stage. And last bot not least, Persipura Jayapura is the third one. The club is based in the region of West Papua, the Indonesian part of Papua New Guinea. It would be nice to travel there for an away game, however, the club will have to play in Jakarta.

The AFC Cup for Chonburi will kick-off on 2 March 2011. Well that's an easy one. But the first round match of the Champions League qualifier, is on 12 February. That weekend the new TPL season was planned to kick off. The same is for a week later. As than the second round is scheduled from the AFC and again it as on a weekend. So you have to worry to start the 2011 Thai football season in the same way like the 2010 season. Thereby the TPL promised a better planning for 20111. 
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