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Fixtures for top Asian club football tournament readjusted due to COVID-19

All News 22:31 September 10, 2020

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Sept. 10 (Yonhap) -- Match schedules for Asia's top club football tournament have been adjusted for the second time during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced updates to group stage fixtures for the AFC Champions League on Thursday, with matches for clubs in the East Zone -- South Korea, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, China and Japan -- to be played between Nov. 15 and Dec. 13.

This file photo from Feb. 19, 2020, shows mask-wearing fans attending an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League match between the home team Suwon Samsung Bluewings and Vissel Kobe at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, 45 kilometers south of Seoul. (Yonhap)

On July 9, the AFC said the remaining matches for those clubs would resume on Oct. 16 and their preliminary play would end on Nov. 1.

The annual competition, with eight groups of four clubs in action, kicked off in February but was put on hold after a couple of matches due to the COVID-19 outbreak across the continent.

The East Zone teams have been drawn into Groups E to H. Four clubs from South Korea's K League 1 qualified for this year's AFC Champions League: FC Seoul in Group E, Ulsan Hyundai FC in Group F, Suwon Samsung Bluewings in Group G and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in Group H. These four teams played two group matches apiece in February.

The AFC has selected Malaysia as the centralized venue for Groups G and H.

The latest change will likely affect the K League 1 fixtures. The top South Korean league already adjusted its calendar last month to accommodate the four Champions League contestants.

Also, all knockout matches, including the championship final, will now be one-and-done affairs, instead of the usual home-and-away series where the aggregate score determined the winners.

In this file photo from Feb. 19, 2020, Yeom Ki-hun of Suwon Samsung Bluewings (R) and Andres Iniesta of Vissel Kobe are in action during their Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League Group G match at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, 45 kilometers south of Seoul. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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