East Bengal and Churchill Brothers drawn against South East Asian clubs in AFC Cup
The 2013 AFC Cup group stage draw was conducted on Thursday in Kuala Lumpur with India’s representatives East Bengal and Churchill Brothers being drawn in Group H and E respectively.
With the AFC changing the format this time by keeping the clubs of West Asian nations in one half of the draws from Groups A to D, East Bengal and Churchill Brothers both have been placed alongside teams of South East Asian nations.
East Bengal have been drawn alongside Singapore’s S-League champions Tampines Rovers, Malaysia League’s third placed team Selangor and Vietnam Federation Cup winners Saigon Xuan Thanh.
Churchill Brothers, who only got a slot in the competition after the withdrawal of I-League champions Dempo due to unavailability of their home ground in Goa, have been placed in the same group as Hong Kong champions Kitchee, Indonesian champions Semen Padang and Singapore Cup winners Singapore Armed Forces FC.
The Goan club are likely to play their home matches at Pune’s Balewadi Sports Complex.
Federation Cup champions East Bengal will be appearing in the competition for a record equalling seventh time. Only the Jordan clubs Al Wehdat and Al Faisaly can match that feat.
East Bengal’s best performance in the AFC Cup came in 2004 when they reached the quarter-finals before losing to Syria’s Al Jaish 3-0 on aggregate.
Churchill Brothers have only appeared once before this in 2010 when they made it to the round of 16 where they lost to Al Qadsia of Kuwait 2-1 in a one-legged play-off.
The group stage matches will take place between February 12 and May 1 2013.