AFC Champions League 2: Who Might Mohun Bagan Super Giant Face?

Mohun Bagan Super Giant with the ISL Shield
Mohun Bagan Super Giant with the ISL Shield (PC: Swapnil Mukherjee)

By winning the ISL Shield for the first time in this ongoing season, Mohun Bagan Super Giant created history on April 15, 2024. But that win also ensured a direct spot for them in the group stage of next season’s AFC Champions League 2. Last year, after winning the ISL Trophy, the green-and-maroon brigade competed in this season’s AFC Cup competition but had some forgettable performances.

Considering that, this is a historical feat for the club as they are now ready to compete in the AFC Champions League for the first time. However, there is also a chance that they might get to face their arch-rivals and another Kolkata giant, East Bengal FC, in the same tournament next year. As Carles Cuadrat and his men won this year’s Kalinga Super Cup, they are assured of a place in the AFC Champions League 2 preliminary stage.

What is AFC Champions League 2?

This will be the inaugural edition of what is now the AFC’s second-tier club football tournament. A total of 32 teams will participate, with 16 from West Asia and the others from the East.

Of those, 12 teams will get a direct entry into the group stage of the competition, while four more teams will be added in each region. There will be four groups, each consisting of four teams, in each region. 

For the Latest Sports News: Click Here  

Mohun Bagan after their 3-0 victory over Jamshedpur FC
Mohun Bagan after their 3-0 victory over Jamshedpur FC (PC: MBSG/X)

Confirmed teams so far

West Region

Group Stage

  • FC Nasaf – 2023 Uzbekistan Cup winners
  • FC Istiklol – 2023 Tajikistan Higher League Champions, 2023 Tajikistan Cup winners
  • Mohun Bagan Super Giant – 2023-24 ISL Shield winners

Qualifying play-off

  • East Bengal – 2024 Super Cup winners
  • Manama – 2023-24 Bahrain FA Cup winners
  • Ravshan Kulob – 2023 Tajikistan Runners-up
  • Arkadag – 2023 Yokary Liga Champions, 2023 Turkemenistan Cup winners

East Region

Group Stage

  • Sanfrecce Hiroshima – 2023 J1 League Third Place
  • Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors – 2023 K League 1 Fourth Place
  • Zhejiang FC – 2023 Chinese Super League Third Place
  • Sydney FC – 2023 Australia Cup winners
  • Selangor – 2023 Malaysia Super League Runners-up
  • Lion City Sailors – 2023 Singapore Premier League Runners-up, 2023 Singapore Cup winners

Qualifying play-off

  • Tampines Rovers FC – 2023 Singapore Premier League second-best-placed local team
  • Kaya-liolo – 2023 Copa Paulino Alcantara winners
Cleiton Silva in Action
Cleiton Silva in Action

Possible opponents

According to the format, four losing teams from the AFC Champions League Elite qualifying round will also get a direct entry into the group stage in each region. So, Mohun Bagan might clash against these teams. If East Bengal can qualify for the group stage, then another Kolkata derby might be on the cards for the fans in the Champions League. But, that will be only possible if two teams from the same league can get a place in the same group!

East Bengal also, they have to face top teams like the 2023-24 Jordan FA Cup winners and the 2023-24 Kuwaiti Premier League champions. Hence, it will not be an easy task for the red-and-gold brigade to make an entry into the group stage. However, after winning the shield, Utsav Parekh, a member of the RPSG group, claimed that MBSG had already started to settle their team for the next season’s AFC competition.   

Also Read: Mbappe brace sends Barcelona out; Atleti knocked out by Dortmund