While much of the focus in recent weeks has been on the buildup to the AFC Champions League, the competition’s junior iteration has begun in full swing over the past week.
The 2019 AFC Cup divides the continent’s nations into five sections, with the South-East Asian portion of the draw consisting of 12 teams sorted in groups F, G, and H.
Vietnamese champions Hanoi FC kicked off Group F in style, demolishing Cambodia’s sole representative at the tournament, Nagaworld, by a 10-0 scoreline. The capital club are h0t favorites to progress from this group, and were only one game away from qualifying for the AFC Champions League, as they lost out to Shangdong Luneng in the last qualifying round despite taking the lead.
In the same pool, Singaporean side Tampines Rovers managed a 3-1 win over Yangon United of Myanmar.
Meanwhile, in Group G, Indonesian champions Persjia Jakarta got off to a slow start, being held to a goalless draw by Becamex Binh Duong on their own patch. This result allowed Ceres-Negros of the Philippines to claim top spot with a 3-1 victory over Myanmar’s Shan United.
Lastly, Group H saw two 1-1 draws, as PSM Makassar of Indonesia, Kaya-Iloilo of the Philippines, Singapore’s Home United and Lao Toyota FC ended matchday one level on points in a four-way tie.