Kuala Lumpur: Kuwait Sports Club face an intriguing quarter-final clash with New Radiant in September after the AFC Cup holders were pitted against the Maldivian champions at the AFC Cup 2013 Knockout Stage draw at AFC House on Thursday.
Kuwait SC’s defeat to Nasaf Qarshi in the 2011 final represented the only time a team from West Asian has lifted the coveted trophy but despite the fact that the Gulf side has contested three of the last four finals Marin Ion’s side will not be underestimating a New Radiant team that scored 20 times and conceded just four on route to topping Group F before they defeated Selangor 2-0 after extra-time in the Round of 16.
Kuwait SC, the champions in 2009 and runners-up two years later, won their second AFC Cup title with a comprehensive 4-0 hammering of Iraqi side Arbil, who were denied a place in the quarter-finals after their surprise 4-3 extra-time defeat at home to Syria’s Al Shorta.
Al Shorta’s reward for their hard-fought Round of 16 win over the four-time Iraqi Premier League champions is a quarter-final clash with Kuwait SC’s domestic rivals Al Qadsia.
While Kuwait SC scrapped into the last eight with a penalty shootout victory over Iraqi side Duhok Al Qadsia’s progress to the quarter-finals was more straightforward with the 2010 runners-up enjoying a comfortable 4-0 win over Oman’s Fanja.
Like Kuwait SC, Al Faisaly are also looking to become the first club to win the AFC Cup for the third time and the first hurdle in the way of the 2004 and 2005 champions is Hong Kong’s Kitchee, who were propelled to the last eight with the help of the tournament’s leading scorer Jordi Tarres.
The 32-year-old Spaniard has found the net in every match in this year’s AFC Cup and will be looking to add to his 11 goals to help Kitchee become the first side from Hong Kong to contest the trophy after South China were eliminated in the semi-final stage in 2009.
The final quarter-final match up sees tournament debutants Semen Padang take on India powerhouse East Bengal, who have reached the last eight for only the second time in seven tournament appearances.
The first leg of the 2013 AFC Cup quarter-finals will be held on September 17 with the return fixtures taking place one week later.
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