Minerva Punjab FC and Chennaiyin FC India are ready to make their debut in Asia's premier club competition in 2019, with the possibility of facing the next match.
Indian Super League champions Chennaiyin FC will make their Asian debut through the AFC 2019 Cup, starting with the play-off in March next year.
Minerva Punjab FC will strive to become the first Indian club to enter the group stage of the AFC Champions League in the modern format of the tournament.
They will play their preliminary round matches against Iranian club Saipa FC on February 12, far from home. If they manage to win, they will face Al-Rayyan FC from Qatar in the playoffs on February 19, another away match from home.
The win there will guarantee them a place in the ACL group stage. Minerva Punjab will find a place in Group B, along with Al-Ittihad from Saudi Arabia, Al-Wahda from the United Arab Emirates and Lokomotiv Tashkent from Uzbekistan.
If they fail to qualify for the ACL group stage, they will play in the AFC Cup group instead, placed in Group E.
With ISL getting recognition from the Asian Football Confederation as a national knockout trophy & # 39; in India, Chennaiyin FC, the 2017-18 ISL winner, will participate in the qualification for the AFC Cup, the Asian club's second level competition.
Chennaiyin is the first ISL franchise to qualify for the competition, advancing to the play-offs in the first attempt after the AFC announced a slot for ISL winners in 2017.
Both Minerva FC and Chennaiyin FC are among the two most recent clubs participating in the 2019 AFC Cup.
Chennaiyin FC will play either Transport United or Colombo SC on March 6 away from home before hosting the second leg a week later on March 13. And if they overcome that challenge, the CFC progresses to Group E, which will consist of four clubs from South Asia.
If Chennaiyin FC progresses to the group stage, they will face current I-League champions, Minerva Punjab and representatives from Bangladesh and Nepal.
Minerva will display only if they fail to advance to the group stage of the AFC Champions League. And the identities of clubs from Bangladesh and Nepal will be known closer to the group stage.