Hong Kong min­nows drawn with giants Guangzhou

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Hong Kong trail­blazer Chan Yuen-ting, the first woman coach to win a top-flight men’s foot­ball ti­tle, faces a bru­tal AFC Cham­pi­ons League ini­ti­a­tion af­ter her Eastern SC were brack­eted yes­ter­day with Chi­nese giants Guangzhou Ever­grande. Chan will face off in Group G against World Cup­win­ning Brazil­ian coach Luiz Felipe Sco­lari and his Guangzhou side, who will be gun­ning for their third Cham­pi­ons League ti­tle in five years. They are joined in the group by Su­won Sam­sung Bluew­ings of South Korea and a yet-to-be de­ter­mined Ja­panese club.

In her de­but sea­son, Chan, 28, led Eastern Sports Club to Hong Kong’s Pre­mier League ti­tle in April for the first time in 21 years. That earned her a Guin­ness World Record as the first woman coach to win a men’s cham­pi­onship ti­tle in a top na­tional foot­ball league. In a tough Group H, de­fend­ing Cham­pi­ons League win­ners Jeon­buk Hyundai Mo­tors were drawn with A-League cham­pi­ons Ade­laide United and Jiangsu FC of China, ac­cord­ing to the group-stage draw an­nounced at AFC head­quar­ters in Kuala Lumpur. UAE pow­er­house Al Ain, last year’s run­ners-up, will be­gin their cam­paign from Group C along­side for­mi­da­ble foes Al Ahli FC of Saudi Ara­bia, Iran’s Zoba­han FC, and the win­ner of a play-off be­tween Qatar’s El Jaish SC and FC Bun­y­o­d­kor from Uzbek­istan, the AFC said. The group stage runs from Fe­bru­ary to May, fol­lowed by the knock­out phase, with the fi­nal set for Novem­ber of next year. Al Ahli FC (UAE), PFC Loko­mo­tiv (UZB), Al Taa­woun (KSA), Play­off win­ner Estegh­lal Khouzes­tan FC (IRN), Al Jazira (UAE), Lekhwiya SC (QAT), Play­off win­ner Al Ahli Saudi FC (KSA), Zoba­han FC (IRN), Al Ain FC (UAE), Play­off win­ner Al Rayyan SC (QAT), Al Hi­lal SFC (KSA), Perse­po­lis FC (IRN), Play­off win­ner Kashima Antlers (JPN), Muangth­ong United (THA), Play­off win­ner, Play­off win­ner.

FC Seoul (KOR), Ja­pan 2nd Club (JPN), Western Syd­ney Wan­der­ers (AUS), Play­off win­ner

Guangzhou Ever­grande FC (CHN), Su­won Sam­sung Bluew­ings (KOR), stil­lun­de­ter­mined Ja­pan Club, Eastern SC (HKG)

Ade­laide United (AUS), Jiangsu FC (CHN), Jeon­buk Hyundai Mo­tors FC (KOR), Play­off win­ner. — AFP

TURIN: In this Dec. 11, 2016 file photo, Ju­ven­tus’ Gon­zalo Higuain cel­e­brates at the end of a Serie A soc­cer match be­tween Torino and Ju­ven­tus, in Turin, Italy. — AP

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