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ISL final winner to be handed AFC Cup play-off spot

The ISL final will be held on March 14th
The ISL final will be held on March 14th
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Modified 21 Feb 2020
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The winners of the 2019-20 ISL final, set to be played on the 14th of March, will be competing for continental honours next season. Goal India today reported that the winners of the final will play in the AFC Cup qualifying rounds next season.

On Wednesday, FC Goa were confirmed as the winners of the ISL League Shield, as they sealed an unassailable lead at the top of the table, which confirmed that the Gaurs would be playing AFC Champions League football next season, in the group stage of the continent's premier club competition.

With India handed an additional third slot in Asian competition by the AFC before the start of this season, the distribution of the spots has been a bit of a mystery, but that now seems to have cleared.

It is also understood that in case Goa also end up winning the ISL final, that place in next season's AFC Cup playoffs will go to the team they beat in the final, and not the team that finishes second in the league stages.

Along with Goa, ATK and Bengaluru FC have already confirmed their spots in the ISL playoffs, which begin on the 29th of February. The fourth semifinalist will be decided on Friday at the Mumbai Football Arena, with a winner-takes-all clash between Mumbai City FC and Chennaiyin FC.

Chennaiyin would only need a point from their last game away against NorthEast United, if they draw in Mumbai on Friday night.

The I-League champions are set to keep their spot in Asian competition as such, although it is not clear whether they have a chance at going into the Champions League preliminary rounds, or will have to settle for a direct spot in the group stages of the AFC Cup.

Until last season, the I-League champions qualified for the preliminary rounds of the AFC Champions League qualifiers while the ISL winners had to play the AFC Cup play-offs. 

Published 21 Feb 2020, 18:53 IST
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