AFC Cup

Persib

Persib Season Ends In Disgrace After Perseru Loss

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Following on from their 2014 Indonesia Super League title success it looked like Persib were set fair to dominate the domestic game for years to come. They had the squad, they had the supporters and they had the vision off the field.
Then came the FIFA suspension. Persib had reached the last 16 of the AFC Cup but the rug was pulled from under their feet and domestically the ISL was halted.

Time To Wrest AFC Cup From Kuwaiti Clubs?

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The losses by Persib, Warriors and Johor Darul Ta'zim in the AFC Champions League qualifying rounds won't have come as a big surprise but it does mean South East Asia will have some pretty strong competitors in the AFC Cup but whether one can make it all the way to the final remains to be seen.

As is often the case away form will be key with some clubs perhaps better set up to get something on their travels than others.

Asian Football Confederation

Indian Super League teams eligible for AFC Cup

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Mumbai (AFP) – Asia’s football governing body has dealt a major boost to the Indian Super League by ruling that its franchise-based teams will be eligible for the AFC Cup from next year.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said in a statement late Tuesday that the winners of the glitzy tournament, which is backed by India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani, will go into the continental competition’s qualifying round.

Indian Super League teams eligible for AFC Cup

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Mumbai (AFP) – Asia’s football governing body has dealt a major boost to the Indian Super League by ruling that its franchise-based teams will be eligible for the AFC Cup from next year.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said in a statement late Tuesday that the winners of the glitzy tournament, which is backed by India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani, will go into the continental competition’s qualifying round.

Arema's AFC Cup Dilemma

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The Indonesia Super League season begins 1 February. It stops on 24 February. It starts again 6 March. It stops again 20 March for the general election. It starts again 11 April.

And that is the problem.

The Asian Football Confederation did not take into account Indonesia's election year when they set the calender for 2014 and now Arema, who are competing in the AFC Cup, have a problem.

home united

Home Win AFC Cup Thriller

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As I headed to the AFC Cup tie between Home United and Than Quang Ninh I had Red Card TV's rant about Singapore football fans going through my mind. I recognised the symptoms having gone through the same rage and bemusement a few years back. Singapore football ain't that bad. It's been better of course but even though I don't get here as much as I used to there is still much to enjoy.

[AFC Cup] Indra marked his return with the winner and Fazrul is unstoppable!

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Indra Sahdan (no.19) scored the winner
Save for the own goal resulted by Precious Emuejeraye's touch in the 26th minute that led to the equalizer for the visiting Churchill Brothers, it was, otherwise, a dominant performance by Home United in this returning AFC Cup Group E fixture at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

[AFC Cup] Wafered Home salvaged the pride amid hazy haze...

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Yasir Hanapi (with ball) scored in the 26th minute
While the 1-1 draw against Indonesian side Persipura Jayapura that might have dented their chance of advancing forward to the next round, it was an improved performance by an S.

[RHB Singapore Cup] Fitness is the key that saw Protectors outmuscled the Jaguars

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Off to Asia again with this Cup win by Home United
Should we say the emphasis on match fitness by Home United coach Lee Lim Saeng paid off with that emphatic display which shredded Tanjong Pagar United apart in the RHB Singapore Cup final?

Persipura

Disappointment For Persib, Persipura As Admin Error Threatens AFC Cup

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Happier days for Persipura when PSSI had a better filing system
Next week sees the draw for the AFC Cup and there could well be no representatives from Indonesia if a local story is to be believed.
Apparently the AFC sent out invites to member associations and Indonesia were planning on sending t he top two sides from the Indonesia Super League 2014 campaign.

Persipura Wallop Warriors

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AFC Cup

Persipura v Warriors 6-0 (Boas Solossa 2, Ian Louis Kabes 2, Gerald Pangkali, Paulin Bio) 9,823

The Black Pearls must head to India for their final group stage game knowing a draw will confirm them in top spot. Bengalaru, who defeated Maizya 2-1 yesterday are a point behind Persipura but have a far worse goal difference.

Results 21/10

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Indonesia Super League Play Offs

Persela v Semen Padang 1-2 (Arif Ariyanto; Airlannga, Osas Marvellous) 6,375

Semen Padang..the curious case of the buffalo that doesn't roar. I will do a piece about their exploits which are so far off the radar it is not true later.

Persipura v Kuwait SC

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We could say the hard work had been done in the 1st leg when Persipura had come away with two away goals. As it happened, they weren't needed as the Black Pearls mullared the holders at their own Mandala Stadium with Robertinho, who hit a hat trick, at the heart of their performance.

Kuwait SC are no mugs.

Kuwait

Yemen's Unlikely Journey Continues

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There is rarely anything stable about football in Asia and that uncertainty perhaps is one of the reasons that makes it so vibrant and interesting. Indonesia get thrown out of FIFA and their clubs are forced to pull out of the AFC Cup. Kuwait get kicked out and their clubs, Qadsia and Kuwait SC, are also told to leave the competition despite having dominated it the last few years.

Referees Strike In Kuwait After Assault

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Why me?

My year began in Indonesia...suspended by FIFA. Kicked out of AFC Cup and WCQs. Now I'm in Kuwait. What can possibly go wrong? Well...

Kuwait were suspended earlier by FIFA, though they were kicked out of AFC Cup and possibly demied the prospect of an all Kuwaiti final their WCQs don't seem to have suffered the same fate for now (not sure why) over alleged government interference but at least the Premier League has been chugging along nicely with games being played as scheduled.

Advantage Qadsia In AFC Cup Quarter Final

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Good result last night by Qadsia as they put one foot into the AFC Cup semi finals after overcoming Syrian side Al Jaish. Goals from Fahed Al Ebrahim, Abdulaziz Alenezi and veteran Bader Al Almotowaa were enough but there could have been more as the visitors visibly wilted in the second half under the 40 degree heat.

Kuwaiti Sides Face Tricky Away Trips In AFC Cup

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Squeaky bum time for Kuwait's representatives in the AFC Cup. Premier League champions and AFC Cup holders Al Qadsia sit joint top of their group with Istiklol from Tajikistan but Turkmenistan's Ahal are only a point behind.

In the last round of fixtures the Kuwaiti side lost 2-0 against the Tajiki side, a loss that saw them surrender top spot.

Balestier Khalsa

Tampines Start AFC Cup Campaign With Rout

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AFC Cup

Tampines Rovers v Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi 4-0 (Billy Mehmet, Abu Sujad, Afiq Yunos, OG) 2,378

Ah the Stags! When you start the game with Jordan Webb and Fazrul Nawaz on the bench you just know you have the makings of a decent squad. An Billy Mehmet's goal inside two minutes was the makings of a decent result.

JDT Begin AFC Cup Defence

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Group E - Tampines Rovers, Selangor, Ceres, Dhanmondi
Group F - Balestier Khalsa, Kitchee, New Radiant, Kaya
Group H - Johor Darul Tazim, Bengalaru, Lao Toyota, Ayeyawady

AFC Cup winners' JDT's failure to overcome Muang Thong United in the AFC Champions' League Play Off means they get a chance to regain their title and to do so they must overcome a familiar foe.

"Matchpix" - March - April 2015

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  • AFC CUP - Balestier Khalsa 0-1 JDT 10/3/15
Balestier (orange) denied a point in dying minutes against JDT
Balestier Khalsa were just seconds away to clinch their first historical point on the continental level before a slip up at the back cost them the game dearly.

[AFC Cup] Tales of the Two...

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Balestier Khalsa's maiden Asian venture is laudable
By all accounts, it is nothing glamorous about when your team are anchored at the foot of the group with only three points from five matches played and zero chance to make it to the next phrase.

S.League

[AFC Cup] Warriors CRUSHED and ANCHORED ...

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Robin Singh (9) celebrated after scored the winning goal
Despite starting off their campaign on competitive mode early ahead the rest in Group E, Warriors FC found things tough going since the second-tier continent club tournament campaign started by chalking up losses against Persipura Jayapura and coupled with away losses to Maziya in Maldives and Bengaluru FC in Bangalore.

Don't Shy Away For Not Trying Them Out...

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Lions' coach Bernd Stange has been keeping low of late
It was not surprising to see the usual reaction from some supporters following the announcement of the national team for the recent friendly matches against both Thailand and Guam.

[AFC Cup] Tigers ROAR to historic win over Lal Holud

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Jonathan Xu (13) opened the account of the evening
By all standards, it wasn't the best display of football in the evening that saw the match delayed by half an hour due to the activation of the Lightning Warning System (LWS), still gloss shall not be taken away that saw a more significant occurrence that took place on the field.

[AFC Cup] Gutted Defeat by Gallant Balestier in Maiden Continental Home Game

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Disbelief for Balestier for the late goal conceded
Even after they were gutted by a heartbreaking 1-0 defeat against defending MSL champions Johor Darul Takzim (JDT) in last evening's AFC Cup Group F encounter, Balestier Khalsa coach Marko Kraljevic is pleased with the performance put up by his team.

Kraljevic's "step-by-step" approach for the new season ...

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Coach Kraljevic speaking to the media (credit: Playmaker)
After their first pre-season friendly match against the visiting Johor Darul Takzim II (JDT II) that ended in a two-all draw at the Toa Payoh Stadium, Balestier Khalsa's Croatian coach Marko Kraljevic breathe a sign of relief when he addressed the media pack after the match.

[Singapore Cup] Tigers broke the "Domination" with an emphatic 3-1 win over Home United

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Zaiful (yellow jersey) dominated the play in his box
Just like how he did in the semifinals that aided Balestier Khalsa to the RHB Singapore Cup final after knocked out Tampines Rovers on penalties, custodian Zaiful Nizam is the Tigers' star of the night again.

"Matchpix" - March 2014 (sorry for the delay...)

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  • AFC Cup Home Utd 1-1 Persipura Jayapura 11/3/14
Eye on the ball on a hazy night
This was the first time I wore a mask to shoot the match, as it was so hazy and choking that evening.

"Matchpix" - January / February 2014

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  • Friendly - Geylang Int'l 1-0 Tampines Rovers 25/1/14
Alex Duric (left) doubled-up as a stretcher man
First compilation of the year with the hosting Eagles beat the defending #sleague champions 1-0 at Bedok Stadium with a Leonel Felice strike from the spot in the dying minutes.

Another second chance for Stags in Asia

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Three-peat for Tampines Rovers
Unlike the previous two seasons that saw tight finishing to the S.League title race, Tampines Rovers had a relatively easy ride (amid some scares along the way) on their route to retaining the trophy.

jalan besar stadium

Competitive Edge counts nothing in Warriors' AFC Cup opening defeat

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Nico Velez (right) looks on a Persipura's celebrations
Unfortunately, having the competitive edge after went through grills offered by the Asian Champions League (ACL) playoffs in recent weeks did not give Warriors FC the necessary advantage, as perceived by many, during their AFC Cup Group E opener against Persipura Jayapura with the former succumbed to a 3-1 defeat at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

[AFC Cup] Clueless Stags ripped apart by the impressive Blue Wave from Hong Kong

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Duric (left):"How's wrong with us?"
Tampines Rovers got off from a worst possible start with this 5-0 thrashing to Kitchee SC of Hong Kong in their AFC Cup opener at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

The reigning S.

The Rest

Johor Darul Ta'zim v Bengaluru Revisited

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The original version of a story I wrote last year ahead of the AFC Champions League Preliminary Round in JB. JDT of course went on to win the AFC Cup, the first South East Asian side to do so. 12 months on and they meet again, this time in the AFC Cup group stage. Both sides may have already qualified but there are still two of the most ambitious clubs in the competition.

Perfect 10 For JDT

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As starts to the season go this ain't bad for the Malaysia Super League Champions and AFC Cup Winners

16/02 MSL T Team (a) 0-2
19/02 MFA UiTM (a) 0-5
24/02 AFC Ayeyawady (h) 8-1
27/02 MSL Terengganu (a) 0-2.
01/03 MSL Felda United (h) 2-1
04/03 MFA Negeri Sembilan (h) 4-1
09/03 AFC Bengaluru (a) 0-1
13/03 MSL PDRM (a) 0-2
16/03 AFC Lao Toyota (h) 3-0
19/03 MFA PDRM (a) 0-1

10 7 3 0 30-3

Not bad is it.

Pahang Coach Quits After Poor Start To Season

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The last few seasons have been quite exciting for fans of Pahang. Traditionally never one of Malaysia's big boys, serious investment has seen the club punch above their weight culminating with a domestic treble in 2014 as they won the FA Cup, Malaysia Cup and the Charity Shield. They also reached the quarter final stage of the 2015 AFC Cup and finished 3rd in the Super League.

AFC Cup 2016 Groups

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It doesn't seem that long ago when JDT were lifting the AFC Cup for the first time in their history and indeed becoming the first South East Asian side to garner success in continental competition for yonks.

But here we are looking forward to next season's version and with no Indonesian teams, nor Kuwaiti, it looks like I won't be getting too many passport stamps tracking down games.

Qadsia Face Up To Syrian Challenge In AFC Cup

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Today sees the AFC Cup return after a lengthy hiatus with Qadsia taking on Al Jaish in Kuwait City. It will certainly be a funny old game with the Syrian visitors having just won their local league while the hosts haven't kicked a ball in anger since their season ended in May.

These circumstances probably mean both coaches have their excuses ready and primed with one suggesting they have just started pre season training and the other saying they have come off the back of a long season!

Fazrul Recovers After Sabah Setback

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It h as certainly been an eventful 2015 so far for Fazrul Nawz. The Singapore international started the year looking forward to playing for Sabah in the Malaysia Premier League but unfortunately things did not work out for him there.

Anyway he returned to Singapore and was picked up by reigning SLeague champions Warriors as they set about building a squad to challenge in the AFC Cup as well defend their title.

Pahang Goal Fest Earns Knock Out Reward

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AFC Cup

Ahal v Al Qadsia 0-1 (Bader Al Almotawaa) 20,000

Al Qadsia confirmed their place in the knock out stage of the AFC Cup after a win in Turkmenistan that almost Ahal's slim chances of qualifying themselves. In their final game the Kuwaitis hosts Erbil on 13 May.

Arema Leave It Late In AFC Cup

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Arema left it late, oh so late, but the ever reliable Cristian Gonzales popped up deep into injury time to secure a nervy victory and gave Arema the advantage ahead of their next AFC Cup tie against Selangor on 16 April.

Arema had scored twice in three first half minutes to give them what surely would be an unassailable lead over Maziya S&C.