In draws held by the Asian Football Confederation’s headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Thursday, Kaya-Iloilo and United City learned their opponents for the next few months when they compete in continental tournaments.
As the first Filipino club to enter the 2021 AFC Champions League group stages, four-time Philippines Football League champions United City were placed in Group I against China’s Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao, current three-time Japanese champions Kawasaki Frontale, and either South Korea’s Daegu FC or Thailand’s Chiangrai United.
Guangzhou Evergrande are eight-time champions of the Chinese Super League and two-time winners of the AFC Champions League and are coached by Italian World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro.
Likewise, Kawasaki Frontale are also heavyweights in the local football scene. They are the current holders of Japan’s J1 League and Emperor’s Cup.
Daegu and Chiangrai will compete for the last slot in the playoff round.
On the other hand, Kaya is set to play away matches in the preliminary rounds of the 2021 AFC Champions League in order to qualify for the group stage of the same tourney.
The runners-up of the 2020 Philippines Football League need to navigate past Australia’s Brisbane Roar on April 7, 2021.
A win in that game would then allow the LBC-backed club to go up against China’s Beijing Guoan on April 14, 2021.
If Kaya wins the two fixtures, then it shall compete against Thailand’s BG Pathum United FC, South Korea’s Ulsan Hyundai, and Vietnam’s Viettel in Group F.
However, a loss to either Brisbane Roar or Beijing Guoan shall relegate Kaya to the 2021 AFC Cup group stages. There, the likes of Malaysia’s Terengganu FC, Singapore’s Geylang FC, and one of Shan United or Ayeyawady United, which are both from Myanmar, await them in Group I.
The 2021 AFC Champions League group stage will follow a double-round robin format and is scheduled to begin this April. Meanwhile, the 2021 AFC Cup group stage will be in a single-round robin, penciled in to start in May.
Both competitions are set to be held in centralized venues.