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Excitement builds ahead of star-studded #ACL2020 draw

Kuala Lumpur: With Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal AFC Champions League triumph still fresh in the minds of fans throughout the Continent, the anticipation is now building towards the AFC Champions League 2020 Group Stage draw, which will take place at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia at 4:30pm (local time) on Tuesday.

Along with Al Hilal, as many as six former AFC Champions League champions, which include Al Sadd SC from Qatar, Korea Republic trio - Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC, Suwon Samsung Bluewings and Ulsan Hyundai FC - as well as China PR’s Guangzhou Evergrande FC, will discover their opponents in what promises to be a historic 2020 AFC Champions League campaign.

Raising the stakes, the upcoming edition will present the ultimate winners, should they not qualify through their domestic league, with an added incentive of a guaranteed spot in the Preliminary/Play-off stage of the 2021 season.

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Adding to the anticipation and excitement, some of the most iconic names in AFC Champions League history are poised to grace the eagerly anticipated draw. Ibrahim Al Ghanim, who featured prominently for Qatar and Al Gharafa, China PR and Guangzhou Evergrande ace Gao Lin and ex-Japan and Urawa Red Diamonds star Keisuke Tsuboi will lend their star credentials as draw ambassadors.

AFC General Secretary Dato’ Windsor John said: “The AFC Champions League continues to be the ultimate club stage for our players and teams to shine. And its popularity was exemplified in 2019 with the rise of television viewership and new engagement records set across all the AFC’s digital platforms.

“The decision to enable the 2020 champions to defend their title in 2021, brings the AFC in line with the best practices in world football and reiterates the AFC’s commitment to strengthen our competitions, as outlined in our Vision and Mission.”

#ACL2020 & #AFCCup2020 - Preview Show

Among this year’s debutants in the group stage are newly crowned Thai League 1 champions, Chiangrai United who narrowly missed out on the 2019 edition after losing to Japan's Sanfrecce Hiroshima in the final play-off round.

Surprise packages in the 2019 UAE Pro League, Sharjah, who clinched their first domestic title in nearly 25 years, are poised to make their maiden appearance alongside 2019 A-League Premiers, Perth Glory, who will be hoping to emulate Western Sydney Wanderers’ fairy-tale run to the title in 2014 at their first attempt.

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