Singapore, Malaysia rivalry to be reignited in AFC Cup 2021

The last time Singaporean and Malaysian teams clashed in AFC competition was in the 2018 AFC Cup when Tampines Rovers locked horns with Johor Darul Ta'zim. Power Sport Images

The longstanding footballing rivalry between Singapore and Malaysia will be well and truly alive again in this year's AFC Cup following Wednesday's group stage draw.

In the ASEAN Zone, the highly-ambitious Lion City Sailors - who finished third in the Singapore Premier League last season - were drawn in Group H and will face off against Malaysian outfit Kedah Darul Aman, as well as Saigon FC (Vietnam) and a yet-to-be-determined playoff winner.

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Meanwhile, Group I will also feature a Singapore-Malaysia clash when Geylang International meet Terengganu. The other teams in that group are Kaya FC-Iloilo of Philippines and either Shan United or Ayeyawady United of Myanmar.

Vietnamese outfit Hanoi FC, who reached the inter-zonal finals back in 2019, lead the way in Group G and will likely face the sternest resistance from Indonesia's Bali United, with Boeung Ket (Cambodia) and a second playoff winner completing the lineup.

The AFC Cup has traditionally been dominated by the West Zone so there was also plenty of interest on that region.

Al Ahed of Lebanon, the competition's most-recent champions in 2019 after last year's tournament was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, should once again be strong contenders and find themselves in Group A alongside Al Hidd (Bahrain), Al Wahda (Syria) and Al Nasr (Oman).

The West Zone will also garner plenty of intrigue given it will feature four debutants in the form of Al Salt (Jordan) and Markaz Balata (Palestine) in Group B, as well as Tishreen (Syria) and (Al Seeb) in Group C.


Group A: Al Ahed (Lebanon), Al Hidd (Bahrain), Al Wahda (Syria), Al Nasr (Oman)
Group B: Al Salt (Jordan), Markaz Balata (Palestine), Al Ansar (Lebanon), Al Muharraq (Bahrain)
Group C: Tishreen (Syria), Al Seeb (Oman), Al Faisaly (Jordan), West Zone playoff winner
Group D: Mohun Bagan (India), Bashundhara Kings (Bangladesh), Maziya (Maldives), South Zone playoff winner
Group E: Ravshan Kulob (Taijikistan), Dordoi Bishkek (Kyrgyz Republic), Ahal (Turkmenistan)
Group F: AGMK or Nasaf (Uzbekistan), Altyn Asyr (Turkmenistan), Khjuand (Tajikistan), Alay (Kyrgyz Republic)
Group G: Hanoi (Vietnam), Bali United (Indonesia), Boeung Ket (Cambodia), ASEAN Zone playoff winner 1
Group H: Kedah Darul Aman (Malaysia), Lion City Sailors (Singapore), Saigon (Vietnam), ASEAN Zone playoff winner 2
Group I: Kaya FC-Iloilo (Philippines), Shan United or Ayeyawady United (Myanmar), Terengganu (Malaysia), Geylang International (Singapore)
Group J: Eastern (Hong Kong), Taiwan Steel (Chinese Taipei), Athletic 220 (Mongolia), Lee Man (Hong Kong)