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

Matchday five is set to produce some interesting clashes as the groups take shape....

The AFC Cup 2018 is into its fifth 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 Istiklol (TJK):

Group leaders FC Istiklol travel to Turkmenistan's FC Ahal on Tuesday on matchday five. Istiklol are two points clear at the top of the group and will be looking to further their advantage against Ahal who are already out of the running for the top spot. As such, it will be interesting to see if they have any motivation to put in a strong performance. 

Venue: Ashgabat Stadium, Ashgabat
Kick-off: May 1, 18:00 UTC+5

Altyn Asyr (TKM) v FC Alay (KGZ):

Turkmenistan's Altyn Asyr are up against Kyrgyzstan's FC Alay on Wednesday in a matchday five fixture. Altyn Asyr are in second spot in the group, two points off the leaders and will be looking to keep pace with them with a win. Should Istiklol win and Altyn Asyr fail to pick up all three points then the 2017 runners-up will secure their place in the next round. 

Venue: Sport Toplumy, Balkanabat
Kick-off: May 2, 17:30 UTC+5


GROUP E (South Zone)

Aizawl vs Bengaluru AFC CUP

New Radiant SC (MDV) v Abahani Limited Dhaka (BAN)

Group E leaders New Radiant of Maldives' welcome Bangladesh's Abahani on Wednesday in a crucial clash. New Radiant are top of the group only on head-to-head record over Bengaluru FC and will need to equal Bengaluru's results from the last two matchdays. Abahani, who are third, will be knocked out if they fail to pick up all three points. 

Venue: National Stadium, Male
Kick-off: May 2, 16:00 UTC+5


Bengaluru (IND) v Aizawl FC (IND):

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India's Bengaluru FC face their compatriots Aizawl FC in a must win game on Wednesday. The 2016 runners-up have lost the initiative in the group after a 2-0 loss to New Radiant last week and know that a loss might see New Radiant pull out of touch. They need to win and extend the group to the final matchday. 

Venue: Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bangalore
Kick-off: May 2, 20:00 UTC+5:30

GROUP I (East Zone): 

Hwaepul SC (PRK) v 4.25 SC (PRK)

A South Korean derby is on the cards as Hwaepul SC play hosts to group leaders 4.25 SC on Wednesday. 4.25 SC, who are six points clear at the top, need only a point to confirm their progress form the group and Hwaepul will be desperate to ensure it doesn't come at their expense. However, their loss to 4.25 SC earlier in the group will be fresh in their minds. 

Venue: Kim Il-sung Stadium, Pyongyang
Kick-off: May 2, 15:00 UTC+8:30


Hang Yuen SC (TPE) v Benfica Macau (MAC)

Hang Yuen SC of Chinese Taipei take on Macau's Benfica on Wednesday. Benfica are second in the group with six points but know that only a win for themselves a loss for 4.25 SC will see them stay alive in the group. They will be hopeful of defeating struggling Hang Yuen on the night. 

Venue: Fu Jen University Stadium, New Taipei
Kick-off: May 2, 19:00 UTC+8