AFC Champions League debutants FC Goa have been clubbed alongside Iran's Persepolis FC and Qatar's Al-Rayyan in Group E (West Zone). The fourth side will be the winner of the play-off West 4 qualifying match between UAE's Al-Wahda FC and Iraq's Al-Zawraa SC.
FC Goa are the first-ever Indian club to qualify for the ACL group stages after they finished at the top of the Indian Super League last season. The Gaurs will be India's only representative in Asia's top-tier competition.
Iranian side Persepolis FC qualified for the group stages by winning the Persian Pro League title last season, while Qatar’s Al Rayyan ended up in the group stage by finishing second in the Qatar Stars League in the 2019-20 season.
𝐀 𝐇𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐢𝐜 𝐌𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 for #IndianFootball 🙌@FCGoaOfficial are placed in Group E for @TheAFCCL 2021 🧡— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) January 27, 2021
More 👉 https://t.co/G1ddWJhbKR pic.twitter.com/yVDvSldLN0
Following the global pandemic protocols, all the AFC club competitions will be played in a centralised venue this time, as has been the case with the Indian Super League.
While the West Region matches of the ACL group stage will be played between April 14-30, the East Region games are planned between April 21-May 7.
The knockout rounds will see the Round of 16 tie played from September 13-15, while the quarter-final round is scheduled from September 27-29, both of which will be a single match and not two-legged ties.
The AFC Champions League semi-finals will be two-legged and will be played on October 19-20 and 26-27, before a two-leg final on November 21 and 27.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter / @ISL