AFC Cup 2017: Matchday Six - Central, South and East Zone Preview

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It's crunch time in Groups D and E in the AFC Cup as the final matchday of the group stages are upon us..

The group stages of the AFC Cup will reach a conclusion with the end of Central, South and East Zone games on Wednesday. As such, let's take a look at what Wednesday's games offer us:


GROUP D (CENTRAL ZONE)


FC Alay (KGZ) v Dordoi FC (KGZ): The second Kyrgyz derby in Group D is a dead rubber with neither FC Alay nor Dordoi FC in the running for a spot in the Inter-Zonal playoffs. The hosts, FC Alay, have lost all five of their games so far and this is an opportunity for them to end a dismal campaign on a high. As for Dordoi FC, all they have to show for is a win in the earlier Kyrgyz derby and will look to avoid finishing bottom of the group. 

Alia Sylla’s sending off last week leaves the forward out for the home side, while Kursanbek Sheratov returns for the visitors. 

Venue: Akhmatbek Suyinbaev Stadium, Osh
Kick-off: May 31, 16:00 UTC+6

FC Istiqlol

FC Istiqlol (TJK) v Altyn Asyr (TKM): All the eyes in Group D will shift to this match as the group winner will be decided by the outcome of this game on Wednesday. Tajikistan's FC Istiqlol and Turkmenistan's Altyn Asyr are locked at the top with 13 points each and the victor in Dushanbe will win the group and progress to the Inter-Zonal semifinals. 

If the game pans out to be a goalless or 1-1 draw, Istiqlol will progress as the winners but a highscoring draw will see Altyn Asyr advance. FC Istiklol, who welcome Amirbek Juraboev back from suspension, are the favourites on home turf against an Altyn Asyr side without suspended duo Altymyrat Annadurdyyev and Akmyrat Jumanazarov. 

Venue: Republican Central Stadium, Dushanbe
Kick-off: May 31, 20:00 UTC+5


GROUP E (SOUTH ZONE)


Abahani Limited Dhaka (BAN) v Mohun Bagan (IND): With both Abahani Dhaka and Mohun Bagan already eliminated, this match in Bangaldesh serves just finalise the final order in Group E. India's Mohun Bagan have six points so far and are three ahead of the bottom-placed Abahani and will be looking to avoid the bottom spot. 

Abahani themselves have very little to play for but will look to end their first ever AFC Cup campaign on a high note, especially with Nasir Chowdhury available after suspension. Mohun Bagan will take to the field without their star winger Sony Norde. 

Venue: Bangabandhu National Stadium, Dhaka
Kick-off: May 31, 19:45 UTC+6

Bengaluru FC squad Federation Cup 2017

Bengaluru FC (IND) v Maziya Sports & Recreation (MDV): Top spot in Group E is on the line as Bengaluru FC host Maldives' Maziya S&RC on Wednesday in the final Group E game. The 2016 runners-up find themselves trailing Maziya at the top of the group by three points but know that a victory at home will see them trump their opponents by virtue of a better head-to-head record. 

Bengaluru won the game in Maldives 1-0 and will be hopeful of repeating the result but are without their star forwards Sunil Chhetri and Udanta Singh. But they welcome back John Johnson and Harmanjot Singh back from suspension. Maziya, on the other hand, know that all they need to do is avoid defeat. 

Venue: Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bangalore
Kick-off: May 31, 19:15 UTC+5:30


GROUP I (EAST ZONE)


Kigwancha SC (PRK) v Erchim FC (MNG): This is another dead rubber in Group I with 4.25 SC of North Korea already assuring themselves of the top spot in the group. Erchim FC and Kigwancha SC will be going through the motions on Wednesday with nothing left to play for. 4.25 SC wrapped up their Inter-Zone Semi-final place with a 5-0 victory at Mongolia’s Erchim FC two weeks ago. 

Should Kigwancha win, they will draw level on points with their compatriots but miss out on qualification due to an inferior head-to-head record while Erchim have lost all three of their games so far. 

Venue: Kim II Sung Stadium, Pyongyang
Kick-off: May 31, 15:00 UTC+8:30

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