Kuala Lumpur: The opening round of fixtures in the AFC Champions League™ 2023/24 saw a number of global icons make their debuts in Asia’s most prestigious club competition as another exciting edition of the tournament got underway.
The 40 teams from across the continent will return to action once more in the week ahead with 20 games taking place between Monday and Wednesday. Ahead of the Matchday Two fixtures, the-AFC.com has selected five things to look out for.
Hong Kong: Kim Dong-jin has taken over as interim head coach of Hong Kong Premier League champions Kitchee, replacing Alex Chu at the helm less than a week before the club’s AFC Champions League™ 2023/24 meeting with Singapore’s Lion City Sailors in Group F.
Chu led Kitchee to the treble of the Hong Kong Premier League, Hong Kong FA Cup and the Senior Shield last season as well as taking the club into the knockout rounds of the AFC Champions League for the first time but will now work with the club’s academy.
Mikael: The ACL is tough but Kitchee will bounce back
Hong Kong: Having scored one of the most spectacular AFC Champions League™ goals in recent times, Kitchee SC forward Mikael Severo has surely guaranteed his place in the 2023-24 edition's highlights reel.
The 30-year-old Brazilian let fly with a bicycle kick from an acute angle in a jaw-dropping strike against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors that caught the attention of football lovers from across the continent.
Despite a narrow 2-1 loss in Korea Republic, the Hong Kong champions now have back-to-back home games and are aiming to reach the knockout stage for the second successive season.
The-AFC.com caught up with Mikael to discuss his hopes for the campaign, the rise of the AFC Champions League and, of course, that goal.
Kuala Lumpur: The AFC Champions League™ 2023/24 got underway with a bang in the past week with 20 matches taking place across 18 countries as the group stage of the continental competition returned to its traditional home-and-away basis.
Eight former AFC Champions League winners are in the running for this year’s title, while a further eight sides were appearing in the group stage for the first time and a host of global superstars also made their debuts in the tournament.
As the sides now look forward to the Matchday Two encounters in early October, the-AFC.com looks back at the week in numbers.
Kuala Lumpur: Matchday One of the AFC Champions League™ 2023/24 lived up to expectations with high quality action across the continent.
With global superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar making their debuts, eight former AFC Champions League winners in the fray and just as many teams making their first bows, the coming weeks promise more enthralling action.
Join the-AFC.com as we take a look at the thrills and spills of Matchday One.
AFC Champions League™ paves way for PMAs to realise VAR ambitions
Kuala Lumpur: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC)’s continuous efforts to empower its Member Associations (MAs) reached a significant milestone when the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system was introduced to the AFC Champions League™ 2023/24 Group Stage matches for the first time earlier this week.
Implemented from the Knockout Stage since 2020, the 2023/2024 edition will mark the fourth instance of the AFC employing the use of the technology in the competition.
Wuhan: Head coach Takahata Tsutomu praised his Wuhan Three Towns players despite the Chinese Super League side being forced to settle for a draw by a late Urawa Red Diamonds equaliser in their AFC Champions League™ 2023/24 Group J tie on Wednesday.
Wuhan looked set to mark their continental debut with a famous win after goals by Zhang Xiaobin and Davidson had given the reigning Chinese champions a 2-1 lead with the match in stoppage time.
Substitute Jose Kante, however, salvaged a point for defending champions Urawa of Japan in the fourth minute of added time.