AFC Cup 2019: Draw mechanism for Chennaiyin FC and Minerva Punjab FC

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The ISL and I-League champions will be starting their continental assignments in the play-offs and group stage respectively

Indian clubs Chennaiyin FC and Minerva Punjab, by virtue of winning the Indian Super League (ISL) and I-League respectively in the 2017-18 season, will be battling it out in the continental competition next season.

The reigning ISL champions will begin their campaign from the AFC Cup Preliminary / Playoff Stage while their counterparts from the I-League will begin from the AFC Champions League (ACL) preliminary play-off stage.

In case of Minerva Punjab, they will be up against Iranian club Saipa in the first round of the Preliminary qualifiers of the ACL. They will be playing away on February 12, 2019, in a one-off game. In case they negotiate that fixture, Qatar's Al Rayyan await them on February 19, 2019 - another one-off away fixture. 

In case they lose any of these fixtures, Minerva Punjab will drop down straight to the AFC Cup group stages. 

As such, Chennaiyin FC need to negotiate a play-off round before securing their spot in the same. 

Chennaiyin FC squad ISL 5

According to the Draw Principles, the Indian clubs will come under the South Asia zone (Group E) for which matches are expected to be held on Tuesday/Wednesdays. 

The draw mechanics for South Zone is pretty simple. There is only one group with four spots for the zone. So no specific draw is required for the same. 

Clubs which share the stadium will not play its home matches on the same day. This applies in case of the two Indian clubs as the duo are likely to play their continental home matches at the TranStadia Arena in Ahmedabad.

India's Minerva Punjab have claim to one spot in the South Zone group in case they do not reach the ACL Group Stages. As of now, there is no standby club in case they make it. The second spot is for the Bangladesh champions. The winners of the Nepal league will be the third club and the play-off winners will take the final spot. 

Note: Maldives' clubs were excluded from the competition after failing to meet the AFC club licensing criteria. 

Country Zone Ranking Club
India 1 Minerva Punjab (IND)
Bangladesh 2 League winner
Nepal 3 League winner
India/Bhutan/Sri Lanka N/A Play-offs winner


Preliminary stage and playoff stage match schedule:

Zone Stage Match Date Match No. Match
South Preliminary Wed, 20 Feb 2019 PS 1.2
(1st Leg)
Colombo FC (SRI) vs. Transport United (BHU)
Wed, 27 Feb 2019 PS 1.2
(2nd Leg)
Transport United (BHU) vs. Colombo FC (SRI)

The Preliminary stage will see Sri Lanka's Colombo FC take on Bhutan's Transport United in a two-legged affair. The winner of that affair will play ISL champions Chennaiyin FC in the play-off stage in another two-legged tie for a spot in the group stages.  

Zone Stage Match Date Match No. Match
South Playoff Wed, 6 Mar 2019 S-PO
(1st Leg)
Winner PS 1.2 vs. Chennaiyin FC
(IND)
Wed, 13 Mar 2019 S-PO
(2nd Leg)
Chennaiyin FC
(IND)
vs. Winner PS 1.2


Minerva Punjab I-League trophy

The draw is on 22nd November 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

 

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