Kuwait SC, Istiklol near qualification

AFC Cup 2019: PSM Makassar 2-1 Becamex Binh Duong (Aaron Evans 87′)

Kuwait SC and FC Istiklol head into Wednesday's AFC Cup quarter-final second legs with one foot already in the last four after recording dominating wins in the first legs last month.

Kuwait trounced Hong Kong's Kitchee, who reached the final four in 2014, 6-0 in the first leg in Kuwait City, as the three-time winners hammered the East Asian side.

Goals from Fahad Al Enezi, Chadi Hammami, Vinicius Lopes, Ali Al Kandari, and a brace from AFC Foreign Player of the Year Rogerinho put the Middle Eastern club completely in control of the tie, as they bid to reach the semis for the fifth time in seven years.

While a competent performance on the day would undoubtedly see Kuwait through, Kitchee needs something of a footballing miracle to have any chance of advancing and will largely be playing for pride on the day.

Tournament debutants Istiklol are in a similarly dominant position having beating Malaysia's Panang FA 4-0 last time out.

Mubin Ergashev’s side are attempting to become the first club from Tajikistan to reach the semi-finals of the AFC Cup, and after goals from Mahdi Chahjooie and Makhmudov Khurshed, as well as a brace from Vasiev Dilshod, they have an excellent chance of doing just that.

Pahang, meanwhile, will be ruing their defensive lapses in the first leg, but recently showed that they are capable of finding the net several times in a match, after scoring four against PDRM in the Malaysia Cup on Saturday.

However, they conceded thrice in that match and since Istiklol have kept clean sheets in their last seven matches in all competitions, a Pahang revival remains unlikely on Wednesday.