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Mariners, Wanderers handed favourable ACL draws

Central Coast have been grouped with Sanfrecce Hiroshima and FC Seoul, while the Wanderers will face Guizhou Renhe and Ulsan Hyundai in Asia's premier club competition

The Central Coast Mariners and Western Sydney Wanderers have received favourable 2014 AFC Champions League draws, with both Australian teams avoiding holders Guangzhou Evergrande in the group stage.

The Mariners, who qualified for the premier Asian club competition as A-League champions last season, will face Japanese champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima, Korean side FC Seoul and a play-off winner in a challenging Group F.

The Wanderers, who booked their place as A-League premiers, have been drawn against Chinese FA Cup winners Guizhou Renhe, K-League runners-up Ulsan Hyundai and the yet-to-be-determined J-League runners-up in Group H.

Evergrande, who last month became the first Chinese team to win the AFC Champions League, will meet the winners of Japan's Emperor's Cup, Korean outfit Jeonbuk Hyundai and the winners of a play-off featuring Melbourne Victory in Group G.

Victory, who finished third in the A-League last season, are aiming for a return to the group stage for the first time since 2011 after Australia was handed two direct spots and an additional qualifying berth last month.

Kevin Muscat's men will host either Thailand's Muangthong United, India's Pune or Vietnam's Ha Noi T&T in a one-off match expected to take place in Geelong on Saturday February 15.

The fourth group from East Asia contains K-League winners the Pohang Steelers, Chinese Super League runners-up Shandong Luneng, Thai champions Buriram United and the third-placed J-League team, who are also yet to be determined.

The play-off winners the Mariners will take on is out of Singapore's Tampines Rovers, Hong Kong's South China, Thailand's Chonburi or China's Beijing Guoan.

In the West Asia, Esteghlal (Iran), Al Rayyan (Qatar), Al Jazira (UAE) and Al Shabab (Saudi Arabia) will meet in Group A, with Al Fateh (Saudi Arabia), Foolad (Iran), Bunyodkor (Uzbekistan) and a play-off winner placed in Group B.

Al Ain (UAE), Al Ittihad (Saudi Arabia), Tractorsazi (Iran) and a play-off winner will contest Group C, while Al Sadd (Qatar), Al Ahli (UAE), Al Hilal (Saudi Arabia) and Sepahan (Iran) have been drawn in Group D.

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