AFC Cup matchday preview

South China v JSW Bengaluru    

Group G winners South China will be looking to maintain their unbeaten record when they host Bengaluru at the Mongkok Stadium. The Hong Kong outfit have shown themselves to be highly competent on both attack and defence, scoring 16 goals in six games and conceding just three times.

South China may have to do without the services of winger Mahama Awal who has not trained since injuring his knee against Eastern AA on Thursday.

Bengaluru were beaten in their final group fixture, but the men from India have enjoyed a 13-match unbeaten run in domestic competitions to put themselves in contention for the league title, with a winner-takes-all fixture against Mohun Bagan this weekend.

For now coach Ashley Westwood's focus is on matters in Hong Kong, with his side's preparations having not gone according to plan after their plane to South East Asia was delayed due to inclement weather.

Istiklol v Al Wahda

Istiklol are making their first appearance in the knockout stages of the competition, but coach Mubin Ergashev has asserted that they are not satisfied just yet, with a spot in the quarter-finals a real possibility.

The Tajik club surprised many by topping a tricky Group C, forcing defending champions Qadsia SC to settle for second in the group, while last year's runners-up, Arbil, were knocked out.

Al Wahda finished as runners-up in Group D, and enjoyed a successful campaign, losing just once. The Syrian side's progression in continental competition has been matched on the domestic front as they are currently runaway leaders in the Premier League.

Al Wehdat v Qadsia SC 

After slipping to a second-place finish in Group C defending champions Qadsia SC are forced to hit the road in a bid for a spot in the quarter-finals. The Kuwait outfit have struggled for consistency this season, and find themselves in third spot in the Kuwait Premier League.

Qadsia will be without Abdullahi Shehu for the clash, with the defender suspended due to an accumulation of yellow cards.

Al Wehdat have home field advantage after topping the Group A standings. Abdallah Abu Zema's side currently top Jordan's league, but suffered disappointment last week when they lost in the semi-finals of the Jordan Cup.

Midfielder Rajaei Ayed misses out for Al Wehdat due to suspension.

 

Persipura v Pahang FC

The match which was supposed to be the opening fixture in the round of 16 has been cancelled after three of the foreign nationals in the Pahang side were denied entry into Indonesia.

At this stage it is unclear how the situation will be resolved, with the AFC saying in a statement that: "We are in the process of gathering information from all relevant parties. Once the investigation is concluded, a report will be submitted to the appropriate AFC committees for a final decision."

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