We are yet to determine the two remaining qualifiers who will make up the numbers in the Central Zone’s Group D and South Zone’s Group E in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup 2017.
As such, the four teams vying for the two spots on offer take to the field for the second leg of their two-legged ties on Tuesday hoping to do enough to secure a spot in the continental competition.
Let’s see how the teams fared in the first leg and what awaits us in the second :-
Central Zone playoff:
FC Hosilot (TAJ) vs Dordoi FC (KGZ)
Tajikistan side FC Hosilot start on the backfoot when they host Kyrgyz Republic’s Dordoi FC on Tuesday. Having lost the first leg in Osh by a scoreline of 1-0, Hosilot have a tough task on their hand, especially considering the fact that they won’t have the services of Ghanaian defender Sadik Musah who was sent off in the first leg.
Hosilot have already created history by reaching this stage of the continental tournament and will be desperate to make it into the group stages. But the lead Dordoi enjoy right now isn’t an intimidating one and the hosts would do well to take the game to the opposition from the outset.
Dordoi also have never managed to reach the group stages of the AFC Cup in their history and they are in an ideal position to do so. Star forward Alisher Azizov has been in good form and it was the Uzbek who got the winning goal in the first leg. But Dordoi, who are the favourites to go through, will want to ensure that they do not sit back on their one-goal advantage and play too defensively.
Venue: Republican Central Stadium, Dushanbe
Kickoff: Feb 28, 16:00 UTC+5
South Zone playoff:
Federation Cup champions Mohun Bagan will have the upper hand in the form of an away goal when they welcome Maldives FA Cup champions Club Valencia to Kolkata. The first leg in Male finished 1-1 after an early Darryl Duffy goal was cancelled out by a silly penalty conceded by the Indian side.
In fact, Mohun Bagan should have won the first leg but see themselves head into the second leg with the game finely poised. The Mariners, who did not have to play a weekend fixture in the I-League will be fresh and well up for this clash. More importantly, their star winger Sony Norde is expected to feature in this game which will be a huge boost.
The Sunrisers, though, know that they have no option but to score in Kolkata but are not out of this game by any means. They will hope that their Nigerian forward Godfrey West Omodu performs well but they are without wingers Md Thasmeen and Ali Hamdhaan which will be a worry for coach Ahmed Mujuthaba.
Venue: Rabindra Sarovar Stadium, Kolkata
Kickoff: 28 Feb, 16:00 UTC+5.30