AFC Cup 2021: All you need to know about the AFC Cup: Fixtures, Timings, Squads, and Where to watch it.
The group stages of the AFC Cup begin tomorrow, ATK Mohun Bagan FC and Bengaluru FC will represent India at the continental competition.
Indian Football is back and it's back on the continental stage, ATK Mohun Bagan FC and Bengaluru FC are set to represent India in the Group D of the competition. The two Indian clubs will be joined by the Maziya S&RC of Maldives, and Bashundhara Kings of Bangladesh in the group stage. The tournament begins on 18th August, and the first match is an all-Indian affair between Bengaluru FC and ATK Mohun Bagan FC.
You can find all the fixtures and timings of all the group matches here.
The AFC Cup was canceled last year because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and this year it will be played under closed doors. The Group D matches are set to take place in Male, Maldives from tomorrow. ATK Mohun Bagan FC join the group as winners of the I-League in 2019-20, Bashundhara Kings qualified after winning the Bangladesh Premier League, Mazhiya S&C joined the group stage after winning the Dhivehi Premier Legaue. Bengaluru FC finished third in the ISL, while FC Goa qualified for the AFC Champions League, and ATK winners of the ISL merged with Mohun Bagan (winners of the I-League) to become a new entity ATK Mohun Bagan FC. ATKMB qualified directly to the AFC Cup group stage taking the spot earned by winning the I-League, while BFC qualified to the AFC Cup playoffs because of finishing higher than other teams in the league. Bengaluru FC beat Nepal's Thirubavan Army 5-0 in the first playoffs and beat Club Eagles of Maldives in the second playoffs to confirm their spot in the AFC Cup group stage.
The two Indian teams will be looking to make a mark on the continental stage, and create history by becoming the first Indian club to win an AFC Cup.
What are the squads of ATK Mohun Bagan FC and Bengaluru FC for the AFC Cup?
ATK Mohun Bagan FC are without the key signing Joni Kauko, as the four foreigners listed by them for the AFC Cup are Roy Krishna, Carl McHugh, David Williams and the most expensive transfer signing in Indian Super League history Hugo Boumous. ATKMB will also be without Indian international Sandesh Jhingan who is all set to join the Croatian side HNK Sibenik. You can see their entire squad here:
On the other hand, Bengaluru FC will only be fielding three foreigners Alan Costa, Yrondu-Musavu King, and Cleiton Silva. The club could not select an AFC region player to fill the fourth spot because of the ongoing tussle with Erik Paartalu. They have registered all their new Indian signings for the AFC Cup, you can find the entire squad here.
Where can you watch the AFC Cup?
The Star Sports Network will be telecasting all the matches of the group stage of the AFC Cup on their channels. The matches will also be streamed on Disney+Hotstar VIP.
The matches kick-off at 4:30 PM onwards on Star Sports & Disney+Hotstar VIP.