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Mumbai City FC are drawn into a strong group in the AFC Champions League

Mumbai City FC became the first ISL side to do a double, winning the league winners shield and the ISL trophy beating ATK Mohun Bagan in the final. MCFC are drawn into a strong group in the AFC Champions League.

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Last updated: 17.01.2022
Mumbai City FC are drawn into a strong group in the AFC Champions League

Mumbai City FC became the first ISL side to do a double, winning the league winners shield and the ISL trophy beating ATK Mohun Bagan in the final. Thus, the 2020/21 season was a historical one for the Islanders in every sense. Last season was also the first time Mumbai City FC played under the banner of City Football group after the management acquired a majority stake at the club in November 2019. Mumbai City FC also joined the family with the likes of Melbourne City in the A-League, New York City in the MLS and Manchester City in the Premier League. 


It was a close decider for the league winners' shield as Mumbai City FC had to wait for the last round of games to know their faith. They defeated ATK Mohun Bagan once again by 2-0 to acquire the prize and earned themselves a direct slot in the group stages of the AFC Champions League. The club from the capital city of Maharashtra became only the second ISL team after FC Goa to do so. MCFC got to know the draw results on January 17th landing themselves in a group full of challenges. 


Opponents of Group B

 

1) Al Jazira (UAE) :


Al Jazira clinched their third UAE Pro League title on the final day of the season ahead of fellow title challengers, Baniyas which handed them a place in the group stages of the AFC Champions League. The club nicknamed 'The Spider' have the country's goal-scoring talisman Ali Mabkhout. Coming from the academy ranks, the 31-year-old has scored 189 goals in 288 games for his club and is also the fourth active international goalscorer in the entire world. 


2) Al Shabab (Saudi Arabia) :


The club from Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia, have made nine appearances in the AFC Champions League. Their best performance in the competition was reaching the semifinals in 2010. Al Shabab last played in the Champions League in 2015 where they exited from the group stage. They finished runners-up in the Saudi Premier League last season. The high-profile and recognised name in the squad is Argentinian midfielder Ever Banega. A national team campaigner who played for top Spanish clubs like Sevilla and Valencia is one of the best in his role. Ex-Manchester United striker Odion Ighalo is also in the ranks and has scored 11 goals in 17 games this season. 


3) Air Force Club (Iraq) :


The club based in Iraq is well known to Indian football fans. It was the Air Force that destroyed Bengaluru FC's dream of winning the AFC Cup in 2016 on their way to making a hat-trick of titles. In the mid-2000s, Air Force Club contested three editions of the AFC Champions League but exited at the group stage in 2004, 2006 and 2008. Last season, they once failed to advance from the group stages having lost four games and failing to register a win. 


Mumbai City FC have a tough group to think about and can draw inspiration from FC Goa's heroic performances last year against some of the best teams in the competition. If they remarkably manage to be in the top two spots of Group B, MCFC will turn out to be the first Indian club in history to advance to the last 16 stages of the competition. 


The group stages of the west region will begin from 7th April and end on the 27th of the same month with double round-robin matches to be played at one centralised venue keeping the Covid-19 safety protocols into context.

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