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AFC Cup 2018: Group Stage Matchday Two Preview: Central, South & East Zones

16:25 SAST 2018/03/12
After an interesting set of matches in the previous week, South, Central & East Zones are set to enter second matchday...

The AFC Cup 2018 is into the second matchday in the Central, South and East Zone. Here is a look at what awaits us this week: 

GROUP D (Central Zone): 

FC Ahal (TKM) v FC Alay (KGZ): 

Turkmenistan's FC Ahal are at home to Kyrgyz club FC Alay on Tuesday in a Group D encounter. Both teams are coming off losses in their opening matches. Ahal were beaten comprehensively by Altyn Asyr were Alay were edged by FC Istiklol. As such, both teams need a win badly from this game. 

Venue:  Ashgabat Stadium, Ashgabat
Kick-off: March 13, 15:00 UTC+5

Altyn Asyr (TKM) v FC Istiklol (TJK):

Turkmenistan's Altyn Asyr are up against 2017 finalists FC Istiklol of Tajikistan on Tuesday. Both teams notched wins in the opening weekend and now have a chance to take the initiative in the group. Altyn Asyr will look to press the home advantage but Istiklol are a tough team to beat. But the Tajik champions will be without the suspended Sheriddin Boboev. 

Venue: Sport Toplumy Stadium, Balkanabat
Kick-off: March 14, 16:30 UTC+5


GROUP E (South Zone)

Bengaluru FC (IND) v Abahani Dhaka Limited (BAN): 

India's Bengaluru FC start their AFC Cup campaign on Tuesday when they host Bangladesh's Abahani Dhaka. The visitors are playing their second game in the group but were defeated by New Radiant and will not find things easy against the Indian side, who are coming into the game after sealing their place in the Indian Super League (ISL) final and are on a high. 

Venue: Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bangalore
Kick-off: March 14, 20:00 UTC+5.30

New Radiant FC (MDV) v Aizawl FC (IND) :

Aizawl FC, who were the champions of India last year, make their debut in the AFC Cup when they travel to Male to take on New Radiant. The home team are in good spirits after notching a win over Abahani Dhaka in the previous week. Aizawl FC, did not enjoy a good finish to their I-League campaign, are not the force they were when they qualified for the tournament. 

Venue: National Stadium, Male
Kick-off: March 14, 16:00 UTC+5

GROUP I (East Zone): 

Hwaepul SC (PRK) v Benfica Macau (MAC):

North Korean side Hwaepul SC host Macau's Benfica on Wednesday, looking to bounce back from the opening day defeat to fellow North Korean outfit 4.25 SC. Carlos Leonel scored a quick-fire brace to seal Benfica’s 3-2 victory over fellow debutants Hang Yuen FC of Chinese Taipei last week, while Hwaepul lost the Pyongyang derby with 4.25 SC. 

Venue: Kim II Sung Stadium, Pyongyang
Kick-off: March 14, 15:00 UTC+8:30

Hang Yuen FC (TPE) v 4.25 SC (PRK):

Chinese Taipei's Hang Yuen host last year's East Zone champions 4.25 SC on Wednesday hoping to bounce back from their opening day defeat. But it might just prove to be a tough ask against a side who are a well-drilled outfit, though they only managed to score one goal against Hwaepul. 

Venue: Fu Jen University Stadium, Taipei
Kick-off: March 14, 19:00 UTC+8