EXPLAINED: How City qualifies for the ACL Round of 16

As we approach the sixth and final AFC Champions League Group Stage Matchday, the equation for City to qualify for the knockout stage is now clearer.

City remains undefeated in its inaugural AFC Champions League campaign, but despite that, is still at risk of missing the knockouts dependant on what happens in other fixtures.

The top team in each group will progress to the next stage, while the three best second placed teams (discounting results against fourth placed teams) in the East conference will also progress to the Round of 16.

Here’s what needs to happen for each instance to occur.

City qualify top of Group G

In the most simple scenario, City will be hoping for a BG Pathum loss on Matchday 6 which will then mean it can top Group G with a win in its fixture against United City.

BG Pathum will take on Jeonnam Dragons at 9pm on Saturday night, prior to City’s fixture. The Thai team will be full of confidence following a 2-0 win when the teams met back on Matchday 2.

Should that clash end in a draw, City would have to beat United City by five or more goals to jump BG Pathum.

City qualify as a top three 2nd placed team

Should BG Pathum either win or draw in that aforementioned clash, the most likely scenario for qualification sees City relying on Japanese club Vissel Kobe to do it a favour against Hong Kong’s Kitchee SC over in Group J.

Kitchee currently sits on six points with the same goal difference as City, but has scored one more goal. As things stand, Kitchee would progress to the Round of 16 – remembering of course that City’s results against fourth placed United City don’t count in this instance.

This means that we’ll be hoping for a Vissel Kobe win on Sunday night as Kitchee’s goal difference would drop and then see City through to the Round of 16.

There also is one other more complicated scenario in Group F that could see us through as a top ranked second placed team.

That would require Daegu FC to drop points to Lion City paired with a Urawa Red Diamonds win over Shandong Taishan. That then would mean that Urawa would qualify first and Daegu would drop below Melbourne City in the second place standings.

Matches that matter

BG Pathum United v Jeonnam Dragons

Saturday 30 April, 9:00pm kick-off (AEST)
Live on Paramount+

Lion City v Daegu FC

Saturday 30 April, 9:00pm kick-off (AEST)
Live on Paramount+

Shandong Taishan v Urawa Red Diamonds

Saturday 30 April, 9:00pm kick-off (AEST)
Live on Paramount+

Melbourne City FC v United City FC

Sunday 1 May, 12:00am kick-off (AEST)

Live on 10play and Paramount+

Kitchee v Vissel Kobe

Sunday 1 May, 9:00pm kick-off (AEST)

Live on 10play and Paramount+