Bangkok University face hard entrance exam (December 23, 2006)



TOR CHITTINAND

Thailand League champions Bangkok University face a tough introduction to the AFC Champions League after being drawn with Japan's Kawasaki Frontale, Indonesia's PS Arema Malang and South Korea's Chunnam Dragons. The group stage draw was made in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.


Bangkok University's coach, Somchai Subperm admitted it was a difficult assignment but that the side were focused on victory.


''We are underdogs but we will try to win the group,'' he said.


He said the club had just signed up Japanese player Masahiro Kukasawa, who was previously with Yokohama Marinos in the J-league.


The top team from each of the seven preliminary groups advance to the quarter-finals, where they are joined by defending champions Chonbuk Motors of South Korea.


The opening round of matches start on March 7 next year.


It will be the first time Australian clubs play in Asia's premier club competition since joining the Asian Football Confederation earlier this year.DRAW


(Group matches to be held between March 8 and May 17)


Group A: Al Arabi SC (KUW), Al Wahda (UAE), Al Rayyan (QAT), Al Zawra'a (IRQ)


Group B: Pakhtakor (UZB), Kuwait SC, Al Hilal (KSA), Esteghlal (IRI)


Group C: Karameh (SYR), Neftchi Fergana (Uzbekistan), Al Najaf (IRQ), Al Sadd (QAT)


Group D: Al Ain (UAE), Al Ittihad (SYR), Foolad Mobarake (IRI), Al Shabab (KSA)


Group E: Urawa Red Diamonds (JPN), Sydney FC (AUS), Shanghai Shenhua (CHN), Persik Kediri (INA)


Group F: Bangkok University (THA), Kawasaki Frontale (JPN), Arema Malang (INA), Chunnam Dragons (KOR)


Group G: Adelaide United (AUS), Long An FC (VIE), Seongnam Ilhwa (KOR), Shandong Luneng (CHN)


The top team from each group will progress to the knockout stages following round-robin play.


The competition pauses for the AFC Asian Cup (July 7-29) before quarter-finals start on September 13, while the two-legged final is slated for November 1 and November 8.