AFC Cup: KL City, Kedah Darul Aman head to Asean zone semis

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia Cup champions Kuala Lumpur (KL) City FC have confirmed their spot in the ASEAN zone semi-finals of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup after beating Singaporean club Tampines Rovers 2-1 in the final Group H match at the Kuala Lumpur Football Stadium in Cheras.

KL City, who emerged runners-up in the group through the result, dominated the match early on before opening the score in the 15th minute through team captain Paulo Josue.

Josue’s free-kick was saved by goalkeeper Muhammad Syazwan Buhari just after, but the skipper made no mistake as he scored his second in the 21st minute to give KL City a comfortable 2-0 lead.

Tampines Rovers, coached by Gavin Lee, however, bounced back to close the gap ahead of the break with a Boris Kopitovic header in the 37th minute.

“We had possession, but our biggest problem as usual was the finishing. No matter what, we get through to the next round, it’s not easy,” Hodak said in a press conference after the match.

Meanwhile, another Malaysian team, Kedah Darul Aman (KDA) FC also qualified for the semi-finals after thrashing Cambodian side Visakha FC 5-1 in the final Group G match at the Captain I Wayan Dipta Stadium in Bali.

Visakha FC opened the score through Mohammed Faeez Khan in the 20th minute before KDA FC equalised through Mahmoud Al-Mardi’s goal nine minutes later.

The Canaries strengthened their position as Mahmoud Al-Mardi scored the second goal in the 45th minute and completed his hat-trick in the 55th minute.

Fayadh Zulkifli and Ronald Ngah Wanja added goals in the 67th and 76th minutes respectively to complete the rout.

The result saw KDA FC emerge as Group G champions as finished level on six points with Visakha FC and Bali United FC, but with a superior goal advantage over the other two sides.

The AFC Cup group competition takes place in a round-robin league format with three group champions (Group G, H and I) and the best runners-up qualifying as the four teams for the ASEAN zone semi-finals. — Bernama