The groups for the 2021 AFC Cup have been revealed at a group stage draw in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
After the 2020 AFC Cup was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 edition is set to begin with preliminary stage and play-off matches in April and May.
Group stage matches are then scheduled to kick off on May 14 – while the final of the tournament will be played on November 26.
“The 2021 AFC Cup Group Stage will see 39 clubs competing – an increase of three from 2019 – with a newly-introduced Group for the Central Zone,” the AFC said.
“This edition will also award the winning team a place in the preliminary stage of the 2022 AFC Champions League.”
Group A (West Zone) features 2019 AFC Cup Champions Al Ahed FC from Lebanon alongside Al Hidd from Bahrain, Al Wahda from Syria and Al Nasr of Oman.
Jordan’s Al Salt, Palestine’s Balata Center, Lebanon’s Al Ansar and Jordan’s Muharraq make up Group B (West Zone).
Group C (West Zone) includes Tishreen from Syria, Al Seeb of Oman, Al Faisaly from Jordan and a play-off winner.
Group D (South Zone) is made up of ATK Mohun Bagan of India, Bangladesh’s Bashundhara Kings, Maziya S&RC of the Maldives and a winner from the play-offs.
Tajikistan’s Ravshan, FC Dordoi of Kyrgyz Republic and Ahal FC of Turkmenistan are in Group E (Central Zone).
The second central zone group, Group F, features FC AGMK or FC Nasaf from Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan’s Altyn Aysr, FC Khujand of Tajikistan and Kyrgyz Republic’s FC Alay.
Group G (ASEAN Zone) comprises of Hanoi FC of Vietnam, Indonesia’s Bali United, Boeung Ket of Cambodia plus a play-off winner.
Malaysia’s Kedah Darul Aman, Lion City Sailors of Singapore, Vietnam’s Saigon FC and a play-off winner will be placed into Group H (ASEAN Zone).
The third ASEAN Zone – Group I, features Kaya FC-Iloilo of the Philippines, Myanmar’s Shan United or Ayeyawady United, Terengganu FC of Malaysia and Geylang International FC of Singapore.
Eastern Long Lions of Hong Kong, Tainan City of Chinese Taipei, Mongolia’s Athletic 220 and Hong Kong’s Lee Man will play against each in Group J (East Zone).