The AFC Champions League has already started with Mumbai City FC, the only team from India to participate in Asia's most prestigious football tournament. The Islanders lost their opening match 2-0 against an Iranian football team named FC Nassaji Mazandaran. Except for this team they have been drawn with Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal and Navbahor of Uzbekistan.
The Indian Super League (ISL) shield winners will play a high-voltage match against Neymar's Al-Hilal. The group-stage home encounter against the Saudi team has been shifted from Pune's Balewadi Stadium to the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai. The match is set to take place on November 6.
Mumbai City FC are currently playing in the ongoing ISL. They edged out against Northeast United FC in their opening game. With their striker Jorge Pereyra Diaz scoring and brace in their 2-1 win against the Highlanders. They next face Odisha FC in the match-week 2 of the ISL.
Know the reason for the venue change for the Mumbai City FC vs AL-Hilal match
According to reports, the change in venue for the AFC Champions League has been due to security reasons and the demand for tickets. The Balewadi Sports Complex allows only 11,900 capacity on the other hand DY Patil has more than double the capacity having 55,000 seats.
Al-Hilal lost to Urawa Red Diamonds of Japan in the AFC Champions League final last season. Till then they have changed a lot of things in the squad. They brought in star players from across Europe after the FIFA World Cup 2022. Brazilian superstar Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) is their marquee signing for this season.
Serbian midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic of Napoli and Portuguese star player Ruben Neves of Wolverhampton Wanderers from the English Premier League. They even bought the Morocco goalkeeper Yassine Bounou from Sevilla and Chelsea centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly. Each team will play twice against the other three teams in their respective group for a spot in the knockouts.
This is the second consecutive season for the ISL Shield winners. The Indian fans are eagerly waiting for the arrival of the Brazilian superstar in India and play against Mumbai.