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Roar facing tougher ACL qualification path

AAP logoAAP 6/12/2016 Vince Rugari

Brisbane Roar will be forced to travel to secure their place in next year's AFC Champions League partly because of the Socceroos' recent downturn in form.

The Roar were planning for a one-off, win-and-you're-in match at home on February 7, but they now face a far more arduous task to qualify after China overtook Australia in the latest annual member associaton rankings, released last week by the Asian Football Confederation.

The member association rankings system was introduced in December 2014 by the AFC, and is used to determine how many slots each country is allocated for competitions like the Champions League.

The system accounts for both the nation's FIFA ranking as well as performances of clubs in the AFC's competitions over a four-year period.

However, because the system is only two years old, more weight is given to the FIFA ranking.

Last month, the Socceroos dropped eight places to 48th in the FIFA rankings after World Cup qualifying draws against Saudi Arabia, Japan and Thailand.

It means the Roar will play at home on January 31 in the preliminary round, against four-time Myanmar National League winners Yadanarbon.

But to ensure their spot in the tournament proper, they'll need to also win a play-off the following week away to Chinese powerhouse Shanghai Shenhua.

The AFC is yet to officially confirm the fixtures but it's understood the Roar has already contacted Football Federation Australia to ask if their February 3 home A-League clash against Sydney FC can be postponed.

If there is a silver lining to the news, it's that the Roar will be able to stage their match against Yadanarbon at Suncorp Stadium.

The club had been scrambling to find somewhere to play on February 7, with Suncorp booked out that week because of the Brisbane Global Tens rugby tournament.

The RNA Showgrounds and Ballymore Stadium were being investigated as possible alternatives but it's unlikely either would have been up to AFC standards.

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