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It gets worse: United's nightmare ACL draw

Soccer

Adelaide United face a hellish Asian Champions League assignment after being drawn with reigning champions Jeonbuk Motors and Chinese Super League giants Jiangsu Suning.

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Defending A-League champions United were placed in the toughest group for the 2017 tournament at the draw held in Kuala Lumpur last night.

Korean football giants Jeonbuk won the 2016 ACL last month, a decade after claiming their first title and five years after coming runners up in 2011.

Big spenders Jiangsu Suning, the home of Socceroos centre-back Trent Sainsbury, are currently sitting second in China’s top tier behind only Guangzhou Evergrande, and also have Brazilian stars Alex Teixeira and Ramires on their books.

The Reds will also face a yet-to-be-confirmed play-off winner.

The Wanderers discovered just one of their opponents after being drawn alongside top Korean outfit FC Seoul, whom they faced in both their previous Asia campaigns and defeated in the 2014 semi-final on the way to their historic title.

Tony Popovic’s side will also face a play-off winner and a yet-to-be-named Japanese side.

“We are extremely excited to be drawn with our old semi final rivals FC Seoul in the the group,” Wanderers chief executive John Tsatsimas said.

“We look forward to consolidating our position once again in the coming months against the most well regarded in Asia.”

Brisbane also learned their qualifying route and will host a one-off play-off against either Filipino club Global FC or Singaporean outfit Tampines Rovers at Suncorp Stadium on January 31.

Should they win, the Roar will play a final qualifying match away to Tim Cahill’s former Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua on February 7, the final hurdle to a Group E berth alongside J-League title-winners Kashima Antlers, Thai champions Muangthong United and another play-off winner.

The draw also lays out a tough schedule for Australian teams, with the last group fixtures coming at the same time as the A-League finals.

Should either the Wanderers or the Reds make the A-League grand final on May 7 they would have to host a match within three days of the decider.

Teams must finish in the top two of their group to qualify for the knockout rounds.

GROUP F:

* FC Seoul (Korea)

* Japan 2nd club

* Western Sydney Wanderers (Australia)

* Play-off 3 winner

Group H:

* Adelaide United (Australia)

* Jiangsu Suning (China)

* Jeonbuk Motors (Korea)

* Play-off 2 winner

-AAP

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