JDT draw Muangthong United in Asian Champions League playoff

Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) will play Thai outfit Muangthong United for a place in the third and final round of qualifying for next year’s Asian Champions League (ACL).

The Southern Tigers have been given a first-round bye in the prestigious tournament as their heroics in taking out this year’s AFC Cup have improved Malaysia's Asian Football Confederation (AFC) member association standing.

JDT will travel to Bangkok for the one-off match, with the winner to play Shanghai SIPG in the final round of the qualifiers for a coveted place in the continent's premier club competition.

The Chinese club is managed by former England and Manchester City coach Sven-Goran Eriksson.

JDT are eligible for the qualifiers by virtue of winning the 2015 Malaysia Super League (MSL) and for being the only Malaysian side to get their club licencing sorted.  Only clubs who are licensed can compete in the ACL.

Last year, JDT defeated Bengaluru of India 2-1 at the Larkin Stadium, but fell 3-0 away to Bangkok Glass in the second round of ACL qualifiers. The Southern Tigers dropped to the AFC Cup as a consequence.

If JDT reach the ACL tournament proper, Malaysia will have three clubs in continental competitions as one extra slot opens up in the AFC Cup. MSL runners-up Selangor have already qualified for the AFC Cup.

Photo: WSG