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

10:49 AM GMT+4 22/11/2018
The ISL and I-League champions could battle it out in the AFC Cup group stages.....

Minerva Punjab and Chennaiyin FC could be facing each other in the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Cup 2019 in Group E according to the draw held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Thursday.

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.

In case of Minerva Punjab, they will be up against Iranian club Saipa in the first round of the Preliminary qualifiers of the AFC Champions League (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. 

There shall be no standby club in case Minerva Punjab make it through from the ACL qualifiers. In case they lose any of these fixtures, the Warriors will drop down straight to the AFC Cup group stages in Group E:

Group E Zone
Minerva Punjab India
Bangladesh League winner Bangladesh
Nepal League winner Nepal
Chennaiyin FC vs Transport United/Colombo FC India/Bhutan/Sri Lanka

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.

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

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.  

Commenting on the draw, Chennaiyin FC's Technical Director Amoy Ghoshal said, "It's a proud day for Chennaiyin FC. We were formed only in 2014. Then we won the ISL and have qualified for the AFC Cup on our first attempt. We knew we had to play the play-offs. it will be either Transport United or Colombo FC. Both are competitive teams.

"We are looking forward to qualifying to the group stage. That is our first target. We have the squad to do that even if the match comes in between our ISL season. The whole squad is motivated for the same." 

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

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.