2019 AFC Women’s Club Championship preview


Melbourne Victory will begin the inaugural AFC Women’s Club Championship with a clash against Incheon Hyundai Steel Red Angels on Tuesday.

The reigning Westfield W-League premier is set to play three games in five days at Yongin Citizen Athletic Park Stadium in South Korea.

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Victory is joined at the tournament by the Red Angels, Jiangsu Suning and Nippon TV Beleza.

The four teams will compete in a round-robin format with the eventual group winner crowned champion.


Melbourne Victory (2018/19 Westfield W-League premier)
Victory secured its spot at the tournament by clinching its maiden premiership last season.

Led by Natasha Dowie (nine goals), Victory finished four points clear at the top before suffering a Semi Final loss.

Victory bounced back from its loss to Sydney FC to begin 2019/20 by overcoming Brisbane Roar 3-2 on Thursday.

Dowie scored a double, including a tremendous late volley, to guide Victory to an impressive away win.

Victory is again captained by its all-time leading goalscorer Dowie, while Westfield Matilda Jenna McCormick is also part of its squad in 2019/20.

Jeff Hopkins led Victory to the Premier’s Plate last season and was named the Westfield W-League Coach of the Year.

Jeff Hopkins, Laura Brock and Jenna McCormick

Jiangsu Suning (2019 Chinese Women’s Super League champion)

Jiangsu enjoyed a dominant 2019 campaign in China to clinch its second title and first since 2009.

Malawi international Tabitha Chawinga led the way on the goal-scoring front, netting seven times as Jiangsu finished eight points clear.

It lost just one of its 14 games, winning 12 and drawing one while scoring 43 goals and conceding just nine.

Ghana international Elizabeth Addo, who was part of the Western Sydney Wanderers squad last season, is at Jiangsu.

Nippon TV Beleza (2018 Nadeshiko League Division 1 champion)

The dominant club in Japan, Nippon TV Beleza claimed its 16th championship and fourth in a row last year.

It was pushed by INAC Kobe Leonessa in 2018, but finished five points clear in the 18-game season to win the title.

Nippon TV Beleza also secured the 2019 championship – by three points from Urawa Reds – earlier this month.

The club recently had 10 players selected in Japan’s squad for a 2-0 friendly win over South Africa.

Incheon Hyundai Steel Red Angels (2018 WK League champion)

The South Korean giant qualified after winning the 2018 WK League, and it has added the 2019 title for seven straight championships.

Since the WK League launched in 2009, Incheon has finished no lower than second – three times – during the regular season.

It has a squad dominated by South Korea internationals.

Goalkeeper Kim Jung-mi, a 113-time South Korea international, is part of the squad.

The 2019 WK League season finished earlier this month, with the Red Angels winning 24 of 28 games – drawing four – to end up 27 points clear.

It made no mistake in the Grand Final, either, beating Suwon 1-0 on aggregate and extending its unbeaten run to 31 matches, dating back to November 2018.


November 26
Nippon TV Beleza v Jiangsu Suning (3.45pm KST, 5.45pm AEDT)
Melbourne Victory v Incheon Hyundai Steel Red Angels (7pm KST, 9pm AEDT)

November 28
Jiangsu Suning v Melbourne Victory (3.45pm KST, 5.45pm AEDT)
Incheon Hyundai Steel Red Angels v Nippon TV Beleza (7pm KST, 9pm AEDT)

November 30
Melbourne Victory v Nippon TV Beleza (12pm KST, 2pm AEDT)
Jiangsu Suning v Incheon Hyundai Steel Red Angels (3.15pm KST, 5.15pm AEDT)

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