AFC Cup 2018: Zonal Semifinals 1st leg Preview: West & ASEAN Zone

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The knockout stages are starting in the AFC Cup with the Zonal semifinals in West and ASEAN Zones....

The AFC Cup 2018 is entering the Zonal semifinals first leg in the West and ASEAN Zones. Here is what awaits us this week: 

WEST ZONE: 


Al Jazeera (JOR) v Al Faisaly (JOR)


An all Jordan semifinal between Al Jazeera and Al Faisaly marks the kickstarting of the West Zone semifinals on Monday. 

Al Jazeera, who have been in sensational form in the group stages, are at home and will be looking to press home their advantage. They remained unbeaten in the group stages and will be a formidable challenge for Al Faisaly. 

Al Faisaly, meanwhile, finished on top of Group C after also winning four of their six games, and the Amman side have pedigree in the competition, having been crowned champions in both 2005 and 2006. Expect sparks to fly. 

Venue: Amman International Stadium, Amman
Date: May 7, 19:00 UTC+3


Air Force Club (IRQ) v Al Ahed (LIB)


Defending champions Air Force Club are up against Lebanon's Al Ahed in the other West Zone semifinal and are at home in the first leg. Air Force Club have been scarily efficient, raising their game when it matters and will be the favourites in this game despite having qualified as the best runners-up.

Al Ahed, meanwhile, advanced with the top spot in Group B, having beaten the likes of Manama club. Humam Tareq is serving a one-game ban for the hosts, while the visitors' Khalil Khamis and Hassan Chaito are also suspended for the first leg. 

Venue: Karbala Sports City, Karbala
Date: May 8, 18:00 UTC+3

 

ASEAN ZONE: 


Home United (SIN) v Persija Jakarta (IDN)


Singapore's Home United welcome Indonesia's Persija Jakarta on Tuesday in their ASEAN Zone first leg semfinal. 

Home United needed a 2-0 win over Ceres Negros in their final Group F game to finish top of the standings and book a passage to the knockout stages which was the same case with Persija who beat Tampines Rovers 4-2 in their final game.

But Persija's results have been impressive and they will be a dangerous foe to Home United. Shakir Hamzah and Faritz Abdul Hameed are both available for selection for the hosts after serving suspensions but Faizal Roslan is banned from the first leg after his booking against Ceres.

Venue: Jalan Besar Stadium, Singapore
Date: May 8, 19:30 UTC+8 


Ceres Negros (PHI) v Yangon United (MYA)


Philippines' Ceres Negros are at home to Myanmar's Yangon United in the other ASEAN Zone semifinals on Wednesday. 

Last year's Zonal champions, Ceres, won four of their six group games to reach the semifinals and will fancy themselves against Myanmar's Yangon United who also had a relatively easy qualification, finishing five points clear of their group. 

Ceres defender Sean Kane is serving a one-game ban after his booking against Home United so is ruled out of a match that sees the two sides meet for the first time in the competition.

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Venue: Panaad Park and Stadium, Bacolod
Date: May 9, 15:30 UTC+6:30

 

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