The all-important AFC Champions League 2023-24 group-stage draw took place at AFC House in Kuala Lumpur on August 24, 2023. Quite interestingly, Mumbai City and Al Hilal have been drawn into the same group. The other two teams who are in West Zone Group D are FC Nassaji Mazandaran and Navbahor. Meanwhile, the fans in India are looking forward to witnessing Neymar’s Al Hilal vs Mumbai City FC fixture. The 2023-24 AFC Champions League will kick off on September 19.
Neymar has a huge fan following in India and he will be coming to Pune to play against the Indian Super League (ISL) club Mumbai City FC in AFC Champions League. The Saudi giants Al Hilal were the finalists of the previous edition of the AFC Champions League. However, they surrendered at the hands of Urawa Red Diamonds by 1-0. Despite losing the previous edition’s final, they are still the most successful club in the competition’s history.
It is worth mentioning here that Al Hilal won the AFC Champions League on four occasions in 1991, 2000, 2019 and 2021 respectively. On the other end of the spectrum, they have finished as the runners-up on five occasions, more than any other team in the history of the competition. Besides that, they clinched the domestic league 18 times and the King Cup 10 times. Notably, they finished as runners-up in the FIFA Club World Cup once, in 2022.
Fans in India look forward to the Al Hilal vs Mumbai City FC fixture
Mumbai City FC will enter Group D as the underdogs and will be giving absolutely everything in a bid to churn out results in their favour. They wouldn’t tinker too much with their playing style as they would stick to their approach. The ISL club wouldn’t sit back and defend as they would prioritize attack. For sure, the Al Hilal vs Mumbai City FC group stage fixture is certain to keep the fans on the edge of their seats.
— IFTWC – Indian Football (@IFTWC) August 24, 2023
Meanwhile, Al Hilal will enter the tournament as the favorites. The Saudi giants have bolstered their squad by splashing the money into buying the top-tier players in the summer. Al Hilal are expected to benefit from the services of Neymar Jr., Kalidou Koulibaly, Ruben Neves, Yassine Bounou, Aleksander Mitrovic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.
It is worth noting that VAR (Video Assistant Referee) will be in operation from the group stages of the competition. Moreover, it will also be the first edition of the AFC Champions League where the new foreigner rule has come into the big picture as there has been an increase of six players from four.
ACL West Region groups:
Group A – Pakhtakor, Al Fayha, Ahal FC, Al Ain FC
Group B – Al Sadd, FC Nasaf, Al Faisaly, Sharjah FC
Group C – Al Ittihad, Sepahan SC, Air Force Club, AGMK FC
Group D – Al Hilal, FC Nassaji Mazandaran, Mumbai City, Navbahor
Group E – Persepolis, Al Duhail SC, FC Istiklol, Al Nassr