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Race To Be Champions: Know Your Teams

Monday, July 1, 2019

Kuala Lumpur: With the 2019 AFC Cup knockout stage draw set to take place in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, excitement is building as the remaining cast enter the business end of this year’s competition.

The 2019 AFC Cup kicked off with the preliminary qualifying in January and after six months of action, only seven teams remain in the running to replace Iraq's three-time champions Air Force Club.

Join as we give an insight on the teams in the running to lift the title come November 2.

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ASEAN Zonal Final Becamex Binh Duong (VIE) Head Coach: Nguyen Thanh Son (VIE) Leading scorer: Wander Luiz (5 goals) Stadium/capacity: Binh Duong Stadium, Thu Dau Mot City (18,000)

Group Stage record

The Vietnamese Cup winners returned to the AFC Cup after a nine-year absence, and were drawn in Group G with Ceres Negros, Persija Jakarta and Shan United. Binh Duong, on 13 points, finished second behind Philippines champions Ceres Negros to advance to the ASEAN Zonal Semi-finals, as the best runners-up team.

Binh Duong, who are currently sixth in the V.League 1, then faced Indonesia’s PSM Makassar, where they secured a first leg advantage with a 1-0 win. But it was Wander Luiz’s goal in the second leg that ensured Binh Duong their place in the Zonal Final, progressing on the away goals rule on a 2-2 aggregate score.


___________#bfc #becamexbinhduong#AFCCup2019 #AseanZonalFinal

— Becamex Binh Duong FC (@fcbinhduong) June 27, 2019

Did You Know: Established in 1976, Becamex Binh Duong were first known as Song Be FC and assumed their 'new' identity in 2002.

Hanoi FC (VIE)

Head Coach: Chu Diem Nghiem Leading goal scorer: Ganiyu Oseni (9 goals) Stadium/capacity: Hang Day Stadium, Hanoi (18,000)

Group Stage record

Hanoi FC clinched their fourth V.League 1 title last year to earn their spot in the 2019 AFC Cup, their fourth appearance in the tournament. The Vietnamese club then powered to 23 goals in their Group F campaign to finish level with Tampines Rovers on 13 points, but edged the Singaporeans to the top spot on a better head-to-head and goal difference.

In the ASEAN Zonal Semi-finals against Ceres Negros, the first leg ended 1-1, but Binh Duong surged ahead at home a week later with two second half goals from Pape Omar Faye and Nguyen Van Quyet before surviving a late fightback from Ceres to progress 3-2 on aggregate.

Did You Know: Hanoi FC made their V.League 1 debut in 2009 and since then, have emerged champions four times and runners-up the same number of times.

West Zonal Final

Al Jazeera (JOR)
Head Coach: Chiheb Ellili (TUN)
Leading goal scorer: Ahmad Sameer Saleh (3 goals)
Stadium/capacity: Amman International Stadium, Amman (25,140)

Group Stage record

After an impressive run in their 2018 campaign, where they reached the West Zonal Final, Al Jazeera returned to the tournament in 2019 as Jordan FA Cup winners and runners-up in the Jordan Premier League. They found themselves in Group B, finishing as group winners after an unbeaten run that yielded 16 points.

Al Jazeera then suffered the shock of a 3-0 defeat to Al Jaish in the first leg of the West Zonal Semi-finals, but showed their quality in the return leg as four unanswered goals saw them reaching the Zonal Final for the second consecutive year.

Did You Know: Al Jazeera will be aiming to be the third club from Jordan to win the AFC Cup, with Al Faisaly (2005, 2006) and Shabab Al Ordon (2007) having lifted the title previously.

Al Ahed FC (LIB)

Head Coach: Bassem Marmar (LIB)
Leading goal scorer: Mohamad Kdouh (5 goals)
Stadium/capacity: Sports City Stadium, Beirut (50,000)

Group Stage record

Al Ahed secured a domestic double of the Lebanese Football League title and FA Cup to make their ninth AFC Cup appearance. They started their 2019 campaign with Malkiya Club, Qadsia SC and Al Suwaiq in Group C, and emerged group winners as they stayed undefeated with 14 points.

Mohamad Kdouh struck an important goal against Al Wehdat in the first leg of the West Zonal Semi-finals, which proved to be the difference as Al Ahed progressed to the Zonal Final after the second leg ended on a goalless draw.

Did You Know: Al Ahed have already created history by advancing to the West Zonal final, with their previous best being last year's semi-finals where they were stopped by eventual 2018 AFC Cup champions Air Force Club of Iraq.

Inter-Zone Semi-finalists

Altyn Asyr FC (TKM)
Head Coach: Yazguly Hojageldiyev (TKM)
Leading goal scorer: Altymyrat Annadurdyyev, Murat Yakshiyev (2 goals each)
Stadium/capacity: Kopetdag Stadium, Ashgabat (26,503)

Group Stage record

Having finished runners-up in the 2018 AFC Cup after losing to Iraq’s Air Force Club in the final, Altyn Asyr went on to claim a domestic double by winning the Yokary Liga title and the Turkmenistan Super Cup.

The Turkmens earned direct entry into this year’s group stage, the draw placing them alongside FC Istiklol, Dordoi FC and FC Khujand in Group D. Yazguly Hojageldiyev’s men kept their unbeaten streak to emerge group winners after sharing the spoils with Istiklol in a 1-1 draw, to book their spot in the Inter-Zone Semi-finals.

Did You Know: Altyn Asyr's run to the 2018 AFC Cup final was huge progress for the club as their three previous appearances had ended in either the preliminary stage (2016) or group stage (2017, 2018).

Abahani Limited Dhaka (BAN)

Head Coach: Mario Lemos (POR)
Leading goal scorer: Masih Saighani (3 goals)
Stadium/capacity: Bangabandhu National Stadium, Dhaka (24,688)

Group Stage record

Abahani Limited Dhaka are making their third appearance in the Continental competition, having not advanced past the in 2017 and 2018. The six-time Bangladesh Premier League champions had Manang Marshyangdi FC of Nepal and Indian clubs Chennaiyin FC and Minerva Punjab for company in Group E.

Mario Lemos’ men dropped points following their 1-0 defeat to Chennaiyin on Matchday Four and were held to a 2-2 draw against Minerva on Matchday Five, setting up an all-important clash with Manang in their final group game.

Abahani dug deep against Manang as Masih Saighani’s stoppage-time goal gave them a last gasp victory, making them the first Bangladesh club to reach the Inter-Zone Semi-finals.

Did You Know: Abahani have won the Bangladesh Premier League title a record six times.

4.25 SC (PRK)

Head Coach: O Yun-son (PRK)
Leading goal scorer: Kim Yu-song (6 goals)
Stadium(capacity):Kim Il Sung Stadium, Pyongyang (70,000)

Group Stage record

4.25 SC comfortably booked their spot in the 2019 AFC Cup Inter-Zone Semi-finals after registering five wins in Group I. Hong Kong’s Kitchee SC, however, denied them a perfect ending when they upset the Koreans 1-0 in their final match.

The DPR Korea side will be aiming to better last year's finish where Altyn Aysr defeated them 1-0 in the Inter-Zone final.

Did You Know: 4.25 SC are, by far, the top club side in DPR Korea, having won the league title a whopping 11 times.

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