Matchday Four: ASEAN Zone Preview
Kuala Lumpur: The teams in the ASEAN Zone of the 2019 AFC Cup will return to action in the coming days, with the fourth round of fixtures set to take the group stage towards the business end of proceedings.?
First up will be Group G on Tuesday, before the eight sides in Groups F and H follow suit a day later in what promises to be another thrilling round of fixtures.
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Becamex Binh Duong will look to close the gap on table-toppers Ceres Negros when they host Group G’s bottom side Shan United of Myanmar on Tuesday.
Wander Luiz struck late as the Vietnamese side claimed a 2-1 victory over Shan two weeks ago to pick up their first three points of the campaign.
Currently in third place in the standings, Becamex are five points behind group leaders Ceres Negros of the Philippines and realistically need a victory to remain in the hunt for first place.
With the match between Ceres Negros and Indonesia’s Persija Jakarta to be played in a week’s time, the game gives Becamex the chance to close the gap to two points, while Shan would be eliminated if they lose.
Indonesia's Persija Jakarta will look to avenge their loss against Ceres Negros, when they host the Filipino champions.
Ceres edged Persija 1-0 over three weeks ago, courtesy of Bienvenido Maranon's ninth minute effort that kept the Busmen top of the table at nine points, while the Indonesians sit third with four points to their name.
Persija head coach Ivan Venkov Kolev face a daunting challenge heading into the return leg tie against Ceres , who has reached the ASEAN Zonal finals in the past two years, but the Indonesians will count on the massive home support at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta.
The hosts would need to secure all three points to keep their hopes of reaching the 2019 AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal semi-finals, where qualification is assured for the Group F, G and H leaders, along with the best second placed team.
However, if Ceres were to claim a victory in Jakarta tomorrow, it would place them within touching distance of a spot in the knockout stage, while Persija could only contest for second place, currently occupied by Vietnam's Becamex Binh Duong at seven points.
Persija Jakarta v Ceres Negros FC
Venue: Gelora Bung Karno, Jakarta
Kick-off: April 23, 15:30 GMT+7
Becamex Binh Duong (VIE) vs Shan United (MYA)
Venue: Binh Duong Stadium, Thu Dau Mot City
Kick-off: April 16, 17:00 UTC+7
Tampines Rovers will look to maintain their lead at the top of Group F when they welcome Cambodia’s Naga World to Singapore on Wednesday.
The Singaporean side ran out comprehensive 5-1 winners over Naga World two weeks ago as they opened up a three-point lead at the top of the table.
Naga World, meanwhile, are third in the standings and four points off Tampines, but victory would see them remain in the hunt for knockout stage qualification.
Elsewhere, Yangon United will be aiming to record back-to-back wins over Hanoi FC after Maung Maung Lwin’s goal secured a 1-0 victory in Vietnam two weeks ago.
The Myanmar side remain bottom of the table but are just a point behind Hanoi and will welcome Pyae Phyo Zaw back from suspension for a match that could go a long way towards deciding both team’s fate.
Tampines Rovers (SIN) vs Naga World (CAM)
Venue: Jalan Besar Stadium, Singapore
Kick-off: April 17, 19:30 UTC+8
Yangon United (MYA) vs Hanoi FC (VIE)
Venue: Thuwunna Stadium, Yangon
Kick-off: April 17, 15:30 UTC+6:30
Kaya FC-Iloilo of the Philippines and Indonesia’s PSM Makassar will square off for the second time in two weeks as both sides look to pull clear at the Group H summit.
Marwin Angeles struck in stoppage time to secure a 1-1 draw for Kaya when the teams met two weeks ago to ensure the Filipino side remained top of the standings by virtue of goal difference.
Camelo Tacusalme is suspended for the hosts, while both Aaron Evans and Zulham Zamrun miss out for the same reason for Makassar.
A point behind the top two are Home United, who picked up their first three points of the campaign following a 1-0 victory over Lao Toyota two weeks ago, and they next travel to Vientiane for the return meeting.
The Singaporean side will be firmly back in contention for knockout round qualification should they win, while the Laotian team – who welcome Saison Khounsamnan back from suspension – realistically need a victory to remain in the tournament.
Kaya FC-Iloilo (PHI) vs PSM Makassar (IDN)
Venue: Pana-ad Park and Football Stadium, Bacolod City
Kick-off: April 17, 15:00 UTC+8
Lao Toyota (Lao) vs Home United (SIN)
Venue: National Stadium, Vientiane
Kick-off: April 17, 18:30 UTC+7
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