Kaya FC take on Radiant SC in an all-important AFC Cup clash on Tuesday, knowing that victory would guarantee them a place in the last 16 of the competition.
The Filipino side have done superbly in the Cup this season, defying their status as minnows to find themselves in second place in Group F ahead of this week’s final round of fixtures.
There are in fact just three points separating the top three teams in the group, meaning there are still several permutations to consider.
A win for Kaya against New Radiant, the only team already mathematically eliminated from the tournament, would mean that third-placed Balestier Khalsa would not be able to overtake them, while it may even be enough to surpass current group leaders Kitchee FC.
— Kaya Futbol Club (@KayaFC) May 7, 2016
Kitchee and Balestier meet in the other Group F fixture on Tuesday.
A draw for Kaya could still be enough to guarantee a place in the knockout stages, as they have a better head-to-head record with Balestier.
Should Kaya finish off the job, it would ensure that the Philippines has two representatives in the last 16, with Ceres La Salle already through in Group E.
Coach Joel Villarino’s men will take heart from the last time they played New Radiant, when a stunning volley from OJ Porteria secured them a 1-0 home victory.
This time, of course, they will need to do job away from home in the Maldives, making the task somewhat trickier.
At least Balestier must play Kitchee in Hong Kong, so an upset there will be a tough task.
Kaya will be without the services of Porteria, who is suspended for the match, after receiving one too many yellow cards.
Ghanaian midfielder Alfred Osei will also be absent, as he continued his recovery from meniscus surgery.
The duo’s absence means much will depend on the efforts of Anton Ugarte, Jovin Bedic, and Miguel Tanton in the middle of the pitch.
Depending on where they finish in the group, first or second, Kaya could either face Indian club JSW Bengaluru in Rizal Memorial on May 25, or a much tougher fixture away against Malaysia’s Johor Darul Ta’zim, who have dominated Group H.
Don't forget, New Radiant v Kaya on May 10. The match will air live in the Philippines on Fox Sports 2 at 8:00 p.m. pic.twitter.com/yPX1zpFI5Y
— Kaya Futbol Club (@KayaFC) May 8, 2016