Kaya-Iloilo grouped with Bali, Kedah in AFC Cup

Photo from PFL

Kaya-Iloilo was drawn in Group G of the AFC Cup in the event it fails to secure a Champions League berth through the preliminary and playoff rounds.

The Copa Paulino Alcantara winners will take on Indonesia’s Liga 1 side Bali United, Malaysian Super League’s Kedah Darul Aman and the winner of the ASEAN playoff between Cambodia’s Visakha and Laos’ Young Elephants.

But Kaya will first attempt to join fellow Filipino club United City in the group stage of the ACL in March when it faces a team from Australia in the preliminary round on March 8.

A win sends Kaya to a playoff round against Chinese Super League side Changchun Yatai on March 15 for a berth in Group H of the Champions League.

Already in the said group are South Korea’s K-League champion Jeonbuk Motors, Japan’s J1 League club Yokohama F. Marinos and Vietnam’s Hoang Anh Gia Lai, which led last year’s V-League table before it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kaya secured an ACL preliminary round slot and a direct AFC Cup berth following its victory over the Azkals Development Team in the Copa final last November in Carmona, Cavite.

It gained an unexpected berth in last year’s ACL group stage after Australia’s Brisbane Roar withdrew from competing in the preliminary round before defeating China’s Shanghai Port, 1-0, in the playoff round on Audie Menzi’s first-half goal.

Despite making a good impression in Group F held in Thailand, Kaya lost all six matches against South Korea’s Ulsan Hyundai, Thailand’s BG Pathum United and Vietnam’s Viettel.