Federation Cup champions JSW Bengaluru Football Club were drawn to face North Korean side 4.25 SC (April 25 Sports Club) in the 2017 AFC Cup Inter Zone semifinals, at the AFC club competitions draw, held in Kuala Lumpur, on Tuesday.
While the Kanteerava Stadium is set to host the North Korean side on August 23rd, the reverse leg of the tie will be played at the 1,14,000 capacity May Day Stadium, in Pyongyang, on September 13th.
4.25 qualified to the Inter Zonal playoffs after winning the East Zone group, which consisted of Kigwancha SC and Mongolian side Erchim SC. The club, run by the North Korean Army and appearing on the continental stage for the first time in 25 years, scored a total of 14 goals in four matches in the three-team group, winning two and drawing two.
“April 25 SC are a side we’ve got very little information about so this will be a challenge of a different kind. We’ve got a good two months to prepare for this fixture and that’s what we’ll do. We did well in this competition and it is our aim to go one better than last time and win the cup,” said Blues’ boss Albert Roca.
Should Roca’s men get past 4.25 SC, they will face one of Tajikistan’s FC Istiklol Dushanbe and the ASEAN Zone tie winner between Singapore’s Home United or Philippines‘ Ceres Negros.
The Blues were also, by virtue of being South Zone Champions, awarded a cheque of $100,000 by AFC General Secretary Dato’ Windsor John at the commencement of the draw. Bengaluru qualified for the knockout rounds of the tournament for a third consecutive season after defeating Maziya S&RC to top Group E.