The draw for the 2022 AFC Champions League has been completed, and the four Thai sides involved now know who they will be facing in this years’ competition.
The 2020-21 Thai League Champions and FA Cup winners have booked their tickets directly into the competitions group stage.
Defending champions BG Pathum United were in Pot 1 and drawn into Group G, where they will face Korean FA Cup winners Jeonnam Dragons, Filipino champions United City, and A-League premiers Melbourne City FC. This will be the Rabbits’ second appearance in the competition proper, after progressing last year
Chang FA Cup winners Chiangrai United, who will be competing in their third Champions League group stage, face Chinese Super League runners-up Shanghai Port, Hong Kong Champions Kitchee FC and the winner of the second playoff, which will be either Vissel Kobe of Japan, Shan United of Myanmar or a still undecided Australian side.
Two more Thai sides are entering the playoff round, scheduled to be held on March 15th.
Buriram United face off against Korean side Daegu FC, coached by their two-time boss Alexandre Gama. The Brazilian coach only left the Thunder Castle last December, where he was replaced by Masatada Ishii. His return is sure to be one of the more compelling storylines of the tournament, at least from a Thai perspective.
Should Buriram get past Daegu, they will find themselves in Group F, along with Chinese champions Shangdong Luneng, ambitious Singaporean outfit Lion City Sailors, and Japanese side Urawa Red Diamonds, coached by former Suphanburi, Ratchaburi and BG coach Ricardo Rodriguez.
Port FC will face 2020 ACL champions Ulsan in the playoff match, and will be in Group I if they advance. Their opponents will be Japanese champions Kawasaki Frontale (who recently added Thailand captain Chanathip Songkrasin to their ranks), Chinese club Guangzhou FC and Malaysian champions Johor Darul Ta’zim.
Lastly, Group H features Vietnamese side Hoang Anh Gia Lai, coached by Thai boss and former national team head coach Kiatisuk Senamuang. They face Yokohama F. Marinos, Jeonbuk Hyundai and the winner of Playoff 1 (either Changchun Yatai from China, Kaya-Iloilo from the Philippines or an Australian club).
The competition’s group stage will be held from April 15th to May 1st in centralised venues, which are yet to be confirmed by the AFC.