AFC Cup: Odisha FC to face ASEAN Zone winners in Inter-Zone semi-finals
The Kalinga Warriors have learnt their fate in the knockout stage of the AFC Cup.
Odisha FC have learnt their fate in the knockout stage of the AFC Cup 2023-24 after the draw for the same took place in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.
The Kalinga Warriors who are the sole Indian representative in the competition will face one of Australia’s Macarthur FC or Central Coast Mariners or Sabah FC of Malaysia or Phnom Penh Crown FC of Cambodia.
The ASEAN zone semi-finals will take place on February 13 before the final on February 22. The winner of that final will take on Odisha FC in a two-legged Inter-Zone Semi-Final with the first leg on March 6/7 and the second leg on March 13/14.
The Mariners are two-time A-League Championship winners and are the team with the greatest pedigree in the draw along with Sabah FC who have won the Malaysian Premier League once. Phnom Penh Crown FC too have AFC Cup experience under their belt.
Whoever the opponent, Odisha FC will be tested as they look to make it to the Inter-Zone Playoff Final which is the penultimate knockout round in the AFC Cup.
Bengaluru FC’s performance in the 2016 AFC Cup was the best ever by an Indian team in the competition as they reached the final of the competition.
The Kalinga Warriors who have already created history by reaching the knockout stages of the AFC Cup for the first time will be upbeat about their chances in the rounds to come having overcome the challenge of fellow Indian Super League (ISL) side Mohun Bagan Super Giant, Bangladesh’s Bashundhara Kings and Maldives’ Maziya in the group stage.
Odisha FC have been in fine form in the ISL and find themselves in the third spot with 21 points from 11 matches.