Melbourne City set to reunite with a former A-Leagues foe in AFC Champions League

Isuzu UTE A-League premiers Melbourne City have discovered who they will face in the 2023-24 AFC Champions League.

The sole Australian representative in this season’s Champions League, City will face Thai champions Buriram United, Japan’s Ventforet Kofu – the only second-tier side in the competition, and Zhejiang FC of China in Group H in the East Zone.

AFC CUP: Central Coast Mariners & Macarthur learn their fate

The clash with Buriram will mean a reunion with former Newcastle Jets boss Arthur Papas, who is now head coach of the Asian powerhouse.

This will be City’s second Champions League campaign after featuring in the group stage of the 2022 edition, which was played at centralised venues due to COVID-19.

City agonisingly missed out on progressing to the knockouts on goal difference in Thailand. This time around, Rado Vidosic’s side will be able to play fixtures home and away.


Melbourne City v Ventforet Kofu
Date: September 20 2023
Kick-off: 8 PM (AEST)
Venue: Melbourne Rectangular Stadium

Zhejiang FC v Melbourne City
Date: October 4 2023
Kick-off: 11 PM (AEDT)
Venue: Hozhou Olympic Sports Center, Zhejiang

Buriram United v Melbourne City
Date: October 25 2023
Kick-off: 9 PM (AEDT)
Venue: Buriram Stadium, Buriram

Melbourne City v Buriram United
Date: November 8 2023
Kick-off: 8 PM (AEDT)
Venue: Melbourne Rectangular Stadium

Ventforet Kofu v Melbourne City
Date: November 29 2023
Kick-off: 9 PM (AEDT)
Venue: Japan National Stadium, Tokyo

Melbourne City v Zhejiang FC
Date: December 12 2023
Kick-off: 8 PM (AEDT)
Venue: Melbourne Rectangular Stadium

Meanwhile, in the AFC Cup, Isuzu UTE A-League champions Central Coast Mariners will face Malaysian club Terengganu FC, Indonesia’s Bali United and Stallion Laguna FC of the Philippines in Group G.

Australia Cup winners Macarthur FC were drawn in Group F alongside Filipino outfit Dynamic Herb Cebu FC, Myanmar’s Shan United FC and Phnom Penh Crown FC of Cambodia.

FULL FIXTURE: Every 2023-24 Isuzu UTE A-League match
FULL FIXTURE: Every 2023-24 Liberty A-League match

TALKING POINTS: Key info from this season’s A-Leagues draws

Elsewhere in the Champions League, A-Leagues legend Kevin Muscat and his Yokohama F.Marinos side will come up against Shandong Taishan, Kaya FC-Iloilo and Incheon United, who boast ex-Melbourne City defender Harrison Delbridge, in Group F.

Former Perth Glory centre-back Alex Grant’s Pohang Steelers are in Group J alongside Wuhan Three Towns, Hanoi FC and defending champions Urawa Red Diamonds.

In the West Zone and A-Leagues champion Rostyn Griffiths will come up against Neymar, Milinkovic-Savic, Ruben Neves, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Kalidou Koulibaly, Yassine Bounou and Malcom after Indian giants Mumbai City were drawn with four-time winners Al Hilal in Group D.

Mumbai City are also coached by Des Buckingham, who led Wellington Phoenix previously.

Two-time AFC Champions League winners Al-Ittihad – featuring Karim Benzema, Fabinho and N’Golo Kante – are in Group C with Sepahan, Air Force Club, AGMK await.

As for Cristiano Ronaldo and his Al Nassr, they will play Persepolis, Al Duhail and FC Istiklol in Group E.

FULL GUIDE: What you need to know for this year’s AFC competitions