2021 AFC Champions League draw produces thrilling groups

The 2021 AFC Champions League will see 40 teams in the group stage - an increase of eight - with one additional group each in the East and West Zones.

Korea Republic's Ulsan Hyundai, who defeated Islamic Republic of Iran's Persepolis FC in the 2020 final to lift the AFC Champions League trophy for the second time, will have Thailand's BG Pathum United, Vietnam's Viettel FC and a playoff winner for company in Group F.

Persepolis, also runners-up in 2018, were drawn with Al Rayyan of Qatar, India's FC Goa and a playoff winner in Group E.

The draw, conducted virtually and streamed live, saw 2019 champions Al Hilal SFC of Saudi Arabia, Shabab Al Ahli of UAE, FC Istiklol of Tajikistan and a playoff winner drawn in Group A.

Group B comprises UAE's Sharjah, Iran's Tractor FC, Pakhtakor of Uzbekistan and a playoff winner while Group C will see Qatar's Al Duhail SC, Saudi Arabia's Al Ahli Saudi, Esteghlal of Iran and Al Shorta of Iraq bidding to advance to the Round of 16.

Qatar's Al Sadd SC, Saudi Arabia's Al Nassr, Al Wehdat of Jordan and a playoff winner were drawn in Group D.

AFC Champions League 2021 match schedule

Group G comprises Jiangsu FC of China PR, Japan's Nagoya Grampus, Malaysia's Johor Darul Ta'zim and a playoff winner.

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors of Korea Republic, Japan's Gamba Osaka, Tampines Rovers of Singapore and Australia’s Sydney FC were drawn in Group H with Japan's Kawasaki Frontale, Guangzhou FC of China, United City FC of Philippines and a playoff winner the teams in Group I.

China's Shandong Luneng FC, Port FC of Thailand, Hong Kong's Kitchee SC and a playoff winner were drawn in Group J to complete the East Zone section of the draw.

The 2021 AFC Champions League kicks off with the preliminary stage on April 7 with the group stage - which kicks off on April - to be played in centralised venues.

2021 AFC Champions League Group Stage Draw

Group A: Al Hilal SFC (KSA), Shabab Al Ahli (UAE), FC Istiklol (TJK), QAT-UZB P/O winner
Group B: Sharjah (UAE), Tractor FC (IRN), Pakhtakor (UZB), KSA-IRQ P/O winner
Group C: Al Duhail SC (QAT), Al Ahli Saudi (KSA), Esteghlal (IRN), Al Shorta (IRQ)
Group D: Al Sadd SC (QAT), Al Nassr (KSA), Al Wehdat (JOR), IRN-UAE P/O winner
Group E: Persepolis FC (IRN), Al Rayyan (QAT), FC Goa (IND), UAE-IRQ P/O winner
Group F: Ulsan Hyundai FC (KOR), BG Pathum United (THA), Viettel FC (VIE), AUS-PHI-CHN P/O winner
Group G: Jiangsu FC (CHN), Nagoya Grampus (JPN), Johor Darul Ta'zim (MAS), KOR-THA P/O winner.
Group H: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (KOR), Gamba Osaka (JPN), Tampines Rovers (SIN), Sydney FC (AUS)
Group I: Kawasaki Frontale (JPN), Guangzhou FC CHN), United City FC (PHI), KOR-THA P/O winner
Group J: Shandong Luneng FC (CHN), Port FC (THA), Kitchee SC (HKG), JPN-AUS-MYA P/O Winner

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