AFC Cup 2017: West & ASEAN Zonal Semifinals - Second Leg Preview

Johor vs Ceres
Defending champions Air Force Club are in action in the West Zone while the ASEAN zone clubs also fight to reach the zonal finals...

The Zonal semifinals are coming to a boil in the West and ASEAN zones in the AFC Cup 2017 with the second legs beckoning us from Monday onwards. As the teams plot to stay alive in the competition, let's take a look at what awaits us: 


Al Zawra'a (IRQ) v Air Force Club (IRQ)

Air Force Club celebrate

After the first leg between Al Zawra'a and Air Force Club saw history being made with it being the first continental game to be played in Iraq since 2013, the second leg between the two Iraqi teams will be held at Doha’s Grand Hamad Stadium on Monday. The first leg in Arbil finished 1-1 with Al Zawra'a gaining a vital away goal advantage. As a result, all they need is a goalless draw to reach the Zonal final. 

Air Force Club have to score on Monday and that has been an area of concern for them. Only a late equaliser from Amjed Radhi helped them in the first leg but they need to take the initiative this time around or see their title defense disintegrate. Last year's topscorer Hammadi Ahmed has been very poor of late and they will hope he recaptures his form. 

Venue: Grand Hamad Stadium, Doha
Kick-off: May 29 21:30 UTC+3

Al Wehdat (JOR) vs Al Wahda (SYR) 

Al Wahda vs Al Wehdat

As Jordan's Al Wehdat welcomes Syria's Al Wahda on Tuesday for the second leg of their West Zone semifinal, they know the enormity of the task on their hands. Having lost the first leg by a huge margin of 4-1 away, they need to score at least three goals without reply to secure passage to the final, which looks highly unlikely at this point. Though Al Wehdat are a very capable side, Al Wahda are on a high and will be supremely confident of shutting shop on Tuesday. 

With the likes of Raja Rafe plundering goals at will, the Syrians might also fancy their chances of grabbing an away goal or two which will frankly end any hopes that Al Wehdat might harbour. This game feels like it might already be decided but one can never rule out surprises in football. 

Venue: King Abdullah International Stadium, Amman
Kick-off: May 30 21:00 UTC+3


Home United (SIN) vs Global FC (PHI)

Global FC vs Home United

When Singapore's Home United take on Philippine outfit Global FC in the second leg of their ASEAN Zone semifinal clash, momentum will be certainly with the home team after the 2-2 draw in the first leg in Philippines. Home United stole a march on Global FC with an injury time equaliser from Stipe Plazibat and will be confident of building on that morale-boosting moment. They have the advantage of away goals and a goalless or 1-1 draw will also serve them. 

On the other hand, Global FC need a win or a high-scoring draw. The Philippine team are certainly capable of scoring goals but they need to tighten up defensively and ensure they don't concede much in Singapore. This game should be intriguing. 

Venue: Jalan Besar Stadium, Singapore
Kick-off: May 30, 20:30 UTC+8

Ceres Negros (PHI) vs Johor Darul Ta'zim (MAS)

Johor vs Ceres

The stage is set for an intense battle as Philippine side Ceres Negros prepare to take on Malaysia's Johor Darul Ta'zim in the second leg of their ASEAN Zonal semifinal clash. The first leg in Malaysia finished in favour of the Malaysia side 3-2 but it meant Ceres scored two vital away goals. A 1-0 or 2-1 victory on Wednesday should be able to see the home team through to the Zonal final. 

But things are never so simple. Johor Darul Ta'zim are a freescoring side with forwards like Gabriel Guerra in fantastic form and can be backed to score themselves. Ceres negros will have to be on top of their game to outwit Johor and book their passage forward. Bienvenido Maranon and the likes will have to shoulder the attacking mantle for Ceres Negros. 

Venue: Panaad Stadium, Bacolod City
Kick-off: May 31, 19:30 UTC+8