Two Indian clubs in the fray as AFC Cup 2021 action set to begin

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New Delhi, Aug 13 (IANS) Indian club football action returns in August with the arrival of the AFC Cup 2021, with potentially two Indian clubs — ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC — in action in the competition’s Group Stage (South) from August 18-24, 2021.

Group D consists of ATK Mohun Bagan FC, Maziya Sports & Recreation from the Maldives, and Bangladeshi side Bashundhara Kings, along with the winner of the South Asia play-off match between Bengaluru FC, who are 2016 AFC Cup runners-up, and Maldives’ Club Eagles. The play-off will take place on August 15 in Male.

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ATK Mohun Bagan are direct entrants to the group stage of the AFC Cup 2021 by virtue of being winners of the I-League 2019/20, after their agreement to form a joint venture, and will be confident of making a mark on the continental stage and move forward together.

Bengaluru FC earned their AFC Cup 2021 Preliminary Round 2 entry by virtue of a third-place finish in the Indian Super League’s league phase in 2019/20 and defeated Nepal’s Tribhuvan Army FC 5-0 in April 2021 to enter the play-off round. On Monday (August 9), they announced a 29-man squad for the clash against Club Eagles. Bengaluru FC will be led by Indian team skipper Sunil Chhetri.

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The teams in Group D will face off against each other in a single-leg round-robin format across three matchdays — August 18, 21 and 24, with all matches being held in the Maldives. The eventual group winner will proceed to the next round, which is the single-leg Inter-Zone semi-final.

Group D fixtures:

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August 18: Bashundhara Kings vs Maziya Sports & Recreation

August 18: ATK Mohun Bagan vs Bengaluru FC/Club Eagles

August 21: Maziya Sports & Recreation vs ATK Mohun Bagan

August 21: Bengaluru FC/Club Eagles vs Bashundhara Kings

August 24: Maziya Sports & Recreation vs Bengaluru FC/Club Eagles

August 24: ATK Mohun Bagan vs Bashundhara Kings

–IANS

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