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The Countdown Begins! Mumbai City will be facing Saudi giants Al Hilal in the group stages of the 2023 AFC Champions League!

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League 2023–24 group-stage draw took place on August 24, 2023,  at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur. 

This year’s AFC Champions League is the first since the governing body chose to switch from a Spring-Autumn season to an Autumn-Spring calendar. It will take place between September 2023 and May 2024.

There will be 40 teams, divided into 10 groups of four teams each. Those in the West Zone will be divided into Groups A–E, while those in the East Zone will be divided into Groups F–J.

Mumbai City FC, the league winner of the Indian Super League (ISL), will compete for the second season after making history last year by being the first Indian club to register a win in the AFC Champions League. It is also in the West Zone and has been assigned to Group D.

Following the group rounds, the top ten group winners, as well as the three best runners-up, will advance to the knockout phases, which will take place from February to April.

The final will be held in two halves on May 11 and 18, 2024, respectively.

No Ronaldo, but Neymar in the spotlight
Indian football fans were abuzz with curiosity when the AFC Champions League draw dates and probable outcomes were revealed. The anticipation of seeing Brazilian sensation Neymar or the famous Cristiano Ronaldo play in India for the first time was high.

The suspense ended on Thursday when the draw was completed, with Saudi Pro League side Al Hilal set to go to India and be placed in the same group as Mumbai City FC.

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