#AFCCup2022 Knockout Stage set to be thrilling affair
Kuala Lumpur: The knockout stage of the AFC Cup™ 2022 is set to be an exciting affair following the conclusion of the ASEAN, Central and East group stage on Thursday.
Excitement was the order of the day as dreams were both realised and dashed as four teams from ASEAN, two from Central and one from the East Zone joined the five sides who had already booked their knockout stage spots from the South and West Zones in May.
Bishkek: FC Khujand held FC Dordoi to a 0-0 stalemate to clinch their spot in the AFC Cup™ 2022 Central Zonal Final following their Group F clash at the Dolen Omurzakov Stadium on Thursday.
Kyrgyz Republic side Dordoi needed to win by at least two goals but similar to their defeat against Kopetdag FC three days ago, they struggled to craft meaningful chances as Tajikistan's Khujand marched into the next round as the Group F winners.
Group G: Kedah Darul Aman (MAS) 5-1 Visakha FC (CAM)
Denpasar: A Mahmoud Al Mardi hat-trick took Kedah Darul Aman into the AFC Cup™ 2022 knockout stage after an emphatic 5-1 win over Cambodia’s Visakha FC secured top spot in Group G at Stadion Kapten I Wayan Dipta on Thursday.
Mohammed Faeez Khan had opened the scoring for Visakha on 20 minutes, but Jordanian forward Al Mardi restored parity just eight minutes later, netted his brace with a set-piece on the brink of half-time, and completed his treble inside the hour mark. Further goals from Fayadh Zulkifli and Ronald Ngah Wanja on the 67th and 76th minute marks ended any hope of an improbable Visakha comeback.
The result means that as Group G winners Kedah will play Indonesia’s PSM Makassar in the ASEAN Zonal Semi-finals, with the winners set to face either Vietnam’s Viettel FC or Kuala Lumpur City of Malaysia in the ASEAN Zonal Final.
Group G: Kaya FC-Iloilo (PHI) 0-1 Bali United FC (IDN)
Denpasar: Indonesia's Bali United FC registered a hard-fought 1-0 win over Kaya FC-Iloilo of the Philippines in Group G of the AFC Cup™ 2022 at Stadion Kapten I Wayan Dipta on Thursday.
After being on top in the opening stages of their final Group G fixture, Stefano Cugurra’s side took the lead through Jajang Mulyana’s close-range header in the 25th minute with a goal that ultimately proved decisive.
Victory, however, was not enough for the Indonesian side to advance to the ASEAN Zonal Semi-finals with Malaysia's Kedah Darul Aman taking the sole spot after defeating Cambodia's Visakha FC 5-1 in the group's later match on Thursday.
Group H: Kuala Lumpur City FC (MAS) 2-1 Tampines Rovers (SGP)
Kuala Lumpur: Kuala Lumpur City defeated Tampines Rovers 2-1 in their AFC Cup™ 2022 Group H tie at the Kuala Lumpur Stadium on Thursday.
KL City captain Paulo Josue scored twice in the span of five minutes before Boris Kopitovic pulled one back for Tampines, as the home side finished second in the standings behind group winners PSM Makassar.
The victory means KL City advance to the ASEAN Inter-Zonal Semi-finals as the best placed runners-up and will face Vietnam's Viettel FC next.
Group I: Viettel FC (VIE) 5-2 Hougang United (SGP)
Ho Chi Minh City: A game of four penalties saw Viettel FC of Vietnam emerge 5-2 winners against Singapore’s Hougang United to win top spot of the AFC Cup 2022 Group I on Thursday.
The Vietnamese side finished their group stage with the full nine points to advance to the ASEAN Zonal Semi-finals. Hougang, meanwhile, will have to wait for Group H to conclude later on Thursday to know their fate with the best runners-up from the three groups to also advance.
Group I: Phnom Penh Crown FC (CAM) 4-2 Young Elephants FC (LAO)
Ho Chi Minh City: Group I of the AFC Cup™ 2022 came to an end in an exciting fashion as Cambodia’s Phnom Penh Crown defeated Young Elephants of Laos 4-2 in the final group game on Thursday.
Having lost their first two matches, both sides had already been eliminated, with Vietnam’s Viettel FC taking the group winner ticket to the ASEAN Zonal Semi-Finals while Singapore’s Hougang United finished second with six points.
Group J: Eastern Long Lions (HKG) 3-1 Tainan City FC (TPE)
Buriram: Eastern Long Lions booked their place in the next phase of the AFC Cup™ 2022 on Thursday as the Hong Kong Premier League side handed Tainan City from Chinese Taipei a 3-1 defeat in Buriram to secure top spot in Group J.
Mikael’s first half header put Roberto Losada’s side in control before Sun Him-ming doubled their lead five minutes into the second half. And while Ange Kouame’s individual effort gave Tainan hope, Victor Bertomeu confirmed Eastern’s victory with 17 minutes remaining.
The win was Eastern’s second in a row in Group J following their 3-1 defeat of Lee Man last week, meaning they top the standings and advance to the Inter-Zone Semi-finals.