Kuala Lumpur: As the 2019 AFC Cup moves towards its latter stages, many of the remaining sides battling it out for Continental glory may look to bring in new personnel who they hope can be the difference between success and failure.
Over the years a number of teams have reaped the rewards for luring fresh faces ahead of the business end of the competition – the-AFC.com has picked out five of the biggest-impact summer signings.
Kuala Lumpur: The draw for the 2019 AFC Cup Inter-Zone Semi-Finals and Zonal Finals concluded in the Malaysian capital on Tuesday.
The ASEAN Zonal Final will see Becamex Binh Duong hosting Hanoi FC in the first leg at the Binh Duong Stadium on July 31. The return leg of the all-Vietnam ASEAN Zonal Final will be played on August 7.
The ASEAN Zonal winners will face 2018 runners-up Altyn Asyr in the Inter-Zone Semi-final on August 20, with the return leg on August 27.
Kuala Lumpur: The-AFC.com has announced that Chennaiyin FC's Eli Sabia is the winner of this week’s Goal of the Week presented by Allianz for the 2019 AFC Cup after a public vote on the AFC’s official website.
AFC Cup Final Flashback: Air Force Club v JSW Bengaluru (2016)
Kuala Lumpur: The 2015 AFC Cup final was the first time in the competition's history that a team from West Asia failed to make it to the summit clash, but a year later the region would make a return as Iraq’s Air Force Club progressed all the way to the main event in their maiden appearance.
In their way stood India’s JSW Bengaluru, who themselves were in the tournament for only the second time and became the first Indian side to reach the final of an AFC club competition as, for the third successive year, a new champion would be crowned.
Head coach Lemos ecstatic after Abahani’s historic win
Guwahati: Sporting a beaming smile after his team’s win over Minerva Punjab which sealed top spot in Group E on Wednesday, Abahani Limited Dhaka coach Mario Lemos expressed his delight on his team’s progression to the 2019 AFC Cup Inter-Zone Semi-Finals.
Sitting alongside Masih Saighani, who scored a stoppage-time goal to help the side seal a 1-0 result, the Portuguese labeled the win as massive for Bangladesh football.
Questioned about emotions in the dugout after Saighani’s goal, Lemos said “It was big because Chennaiyin were winning and if we had drawn this game, we would be out. So, it’s massive for the club as well as the country to qualify for the first time.”
Becamex Bing Duong set up all-Vietnamese ASEAN Zonal Final
Bogor: Becamex Bing Duong progressed to what will be an all-Vietnamese 2019 AFC ASEAN Zonal Final as they overcame Indonesia’s PSM Makassar on the away goals rule following a 2-2 aggregate draw.
Leading 1-0 from last week’s first leg, Binh Duong performed admirably throughout Wednesday's return fixture, as Wander Luiz’s fifth goal of the campaign in a 2-1 defeat ultimately helped set up a showdown with domestic rivals Hanoi FC who had beaten Ceres Negros FC a day earlier.
A second-half own goal and an Aaron Evans effort briefly gave Makassar a glimmer of hope, but it counted for nothing in the end as the Continental debutants bowed out following an impressive campaign.
Dushanbe: Altyn Asyr FC sealed a spot in the 2019 AFC Cup Inter-Zone Semi-Finals, with the Turkmenistan club topping Group D after playing to a 1-1 draw with Istiklol FC on Wednesday.
Altyn, the 2018 AFC Cup runners-up, took a 1-0 lead at the start of the second half, but conceded through an Istiklol set-piece before weathering a late charge by their opponents to share the spoils at the Central Republican Stadium.