Matchday Six: ASEAN Zone Preview
Kuala Lumpur: Two places in the AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal semi-finals remain up for grabs when the 12 teams take to the field for their final group stage matches on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The winners of Groups G and H have already been decided but top spot remains open in Group F while five teams also have a chance of finishing as the highest-placed runners-up.
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With Indonesia’s PSM Makassar having already won Group H, Singapore’s Home United and Kaya FC-Iloilo of the Philippines will battle it out for second place when they face off in Singapore on Tuesday.
Kaya, who claimed a resounding 5-0 victory over Home in the reverse fixture, currently sit a point ahead of their hosts but only victory will do if they are to accumulate enough points to potentially finish as the best-placed runners-up.
The Singaporean side will leapfrog Kaya into second with a win but the reality is it would take an unlikely set of results in the other groups for them to return to the ASEAN Zonal semi-finals for the third successive year.
Aqhari Abdullah and Faizal Roslan return from suspension for the hosts, as does Jovin Bedic for the visitors, but Jalsor Soriano has yet to complete his two-game ban.
Elsewhere, PSM Makassar travel to Laos to take on Lao Toyota in the knowledge that their work is done after a 3-2 win over Home two weeks ago sealed top spot. Taufik Hidayat is suspended, but Eero Markkanen and Abdul Rahman are available for selection again.
The Laotians, who lost 5-1 to Kaya on their last outing, will be aiming to avoid a fifth successive defeat and end their difficult tournament on a high note.
Home United (SIN) vs Kaya FC-Iloilo (PHI)
Venue: Jalan Besar Stadiam, Singapore
Kick-off: May 14, 20:30 UTC+8
Lao Toyota (LAO) vs PSM Makassar (IDN)
Venue: National Stadium, Vientiane
Kick-off: May 14, 19:30 UTC+7
Singapore’s Tampines Rovers will secure top spot in Group F if they can avoid defeat away to Hanoi FC on Wednesday, but three points adrift of the visitors, the Vietnamese side have pole position in their sights.
The teams played out a 1-1 draw on Matchday Two meaning if the hosts claim all three points they will leapfrog Tampines into first place and advance as group winners.
Irwan Arismail’s stoppage-time goal sealed a dramatic 4-3 win for Tampines over Yangon United two weeks ago to move them to 13 points and mean, even if they lose to Hanoi, they have a good chance of finishing as the best-placed runners-up.
Hanoi are the 2019 AFC Cup’s top scorers on 21 goals, yet it was a surprise 1-0 defeat at home to Myanmar’s Yangon United on Matchday Three that has left their qualification hopes in the balance.
Yangon host Cambodia’s Naga World in the group’s other fixture with both sides out of the qualification hunt but aiming to avoid finishing bottom of the standings.
They sit level on points but Naga World’s victory in the reverse meeting means a point will secure third place, while Yangon are boosted by the return of Sekou Sylla after the striker served a one-match ban.
Hanoi FC (VIE) vs Tampines Rovers (SIN)
Venue: Hang Day Stadium, Hanoi
Kick-off: May 15, 17:00 UTC+7
Yangon United (MYA) vs Naga World (CAM)
Venue: Thuwunna Stadium, Yangon
Kick-off: May 15, 16:30 UTC+6:30
Ceres Negros of the Philippines have already sealed first place in Group G but their visitors on Wednesday, Vietnam’s Becamex Binh Duong, have it all to play for.
Becamex are guaranteed to finish second and could qualify for the next round as the best-placed runners-up, but will likely need to win in Bacolod City and hope results in Group F go their way.
The visitors defeated Persija Jakarta two weeks ago to eliminate the Indonesian side and keep their hopes of advancing alive, while Ceres ran out 5-0 winners over Myanmar’s Shan United to maintain their 100 percent record.
Ceres, who won the reverse meeting 3-1 on Matchday Two, welcome Spanish defender Super back from suspension, while Becamex have a full squad to select from ahead of the game.
Persija, who have Ryuji Utomo back from suspension, will look to round off a disappointing campaign with a home victory over Shan in the Indonesian capital, after they have failed to hit the heights of last year when they reached the ASEAN Zonal semi-finals.
The visitors will be desperate to claim their first point of the group stage and they welcome back Zin Min Tun after the forward served a one-match ban.
Ceres Negros (PHI) vs Becamex Binh Duong (VIE)
Venue: Pana-ad Park and Football Stadium, Bacolod City
Kick-off: May 15, 20:00 UTC+8
Persija Jakarta (IDN) vs Shan United (MYA)
Venue: Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, Jakarta
Kick-off: May 15, 19:00 UTC+7
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