Kuala Lumpur: The cast for the AFC Cup™ 2023/2024 could begin to take shape upon the conclusion of the upcoming Matchday Four.

Several teams took a firm grip on the lead in their respective groups after Matchday Three while some revived their hopes, setting the stage for another round of exciting games between November 6 and 9.  

Group A
Al Futuwa SC (SYR) v Al Nahda (OMA)

Al Nahda will be aiming to pull themselves further ahead when they face Al Futuwa SC on Monday. 

A 2-1 win over their Syrian rivals saw Al Nahda move three points clear at the top on Matchday Three and with the AFC Cup reaching the business end of the group stage, the Oman club will be determined to remain in the driver’s seat. 

The Jabal Al Mukaber v Al Ahed match has been postponed. 

Group B
Kuwait SC (KUW) v Al Ittihad Al Ahli Aleppo SC (SYR)
Al Kahrabaa Club (IRQ) v Al Wehdat SC (JOR)

Leaders Al Wehdat SC face a test of their credentials when they travel to face Iraq’s Al Kahrabaa Club on Tuesday.

The Jordanian side moved to the top of the standings with a 3-1 win over Al Kahrabaa on Matchday Three but can expect a stiff test in the reverse fixture. 

Three-time AFC Cup winners Kuwait SC will be aiming for three points against Syria’s Al Ittihad Al Ahli Aleppo SC, with the two having played to a 1-1 draw two weeks ago. 

Group C
Nejmeh SC (LBN) v Al Zawraa SC (IRQ)
Al Riffa (BHR) v Al Arabi SC (KUW)

Al Riffa will hope to end Matchday Four further ahead of their Group C rivals after opening a three-point lead two weeks ago.

A 3-0 win against Al Arabi on Matchday Three saw Al Riffa move to seven points, with their Kuwaiti rivals and Iraq’s Al Zawraa SC three adrift.

Al Zawraa will fancy their chances of another three points after having defeated Lebanon’s Nejmeh SC 4-1 in the reverse fixture.

Group D
Maziya Sports & Recreation (MDV) v Odisha FC (IND)
Bashundhara Kings (BAN) v Mohun Bagan Super Giant (IND) 

Bashundhara Kings will feel victory is within their grasp when they host Group D leaders Mohun Bagan Super Giant on Tuesday. 

The Bangladesh side fought for a 2-2 draw with their Indian rivals two weeks ago and a win on home soil will take them level on seven points with Mohun Bagan.

Odisha FC finally found their best form as they cruised to a 6-1 win over Maziya Sports & Recreation two weeks ago and the Indian side will look to maintain their revival when they travel to Male for the return fixture. 

Group E
FK Abdysh-Ata Kant (KGZ) v FC Ravshan (TJK)
Altyn Asyr FC (TKM) v FC Merw (TKM) 

Having worked hard for a 1-0 win against their Tajikistan opponents on Matchday Three,  FK Abdysh-Ata Kant will be confident of another three points when they host FC Ravshan on Thursday.

The win against Ravshan took Abdysh-Ata Kant three points clear at the summit and another victory will surely edge them closer to the Inter-Zone semi-finals. 

Altyn Asyr, meanwhile, will hope to continue their revival after a last-gasp goal gave them a 2-1 win against FC Merw, with the two teams to meet again on Thursday. 

Group F
Macarthur FC (AUS) v Phnom Penh Crown FC (CAM)
Shan United FC (MYA) v Dynamic Herb Cebu FC (PHI) 

Macarthur FC will leave no stone unturned in their bid to defeat Phnom Penh Crown FC when the two sides clash in Sydney on Thursday. 

A late flurry of goals saw Phnom Penh cruise to a 3-0 win over their Australian rivals, giving the Cambodian side a perfect record at the midway stage. 

Macarthur sit three points behind and failure to win could prove costly in their bid to advance to the ASEAN Zonal semi-finals. 

Dynamic Herb Cebu FC, meanwhile, can expect a fight from Shan United FC, with the Myanmar side desperate to get back into the race after three consecutive defeats. 

Group G
Stallion Laguna FC (PHI) v Terengganu FC (MAS)
Bali United FC (IDN) v Central Coast Mariners FC (AUS) 

Central Coast Mariners will be braced for an onslaught when they face Bali United FC on Wednesday, with the Australian side having cruised to a 6-3 win when the two sides met on Matchday Three. 

The victory gave Mariners a one-point lead at the top but Bali United will fancy their chances, especially with home ground advantage.

Terengganu FC will need to do better when they travel to face Stallion Laguna FC, with the Malaysian side needing a late goal to salvage a 2-2 draw with their opponents from the Philippines two weeks ago.

Group H
Hougang United (SGP)  v PSM Makassar (IDN)
Sabah FC (MAS) v Hai Phong FC (VIE)

Sabah FC know the score – they have to beat Hai Phong FC on Thursday if an automatic place in the ASEAN Zonal semi-finals is not to slip out of reach.

The Malaysian side suffered a 3-2 defeat when the two sides met in Hai Phong two weeks ago, leaving both on level points at the halfway stage. 

Indonesia’s PSM Makassar got their campaign back on track with a  3-1 win over Singapore’s Hougang United, leaving both teams on three points and in desperate need for a victory in the reverse fixture in Singapore. 

Group I
FC Ulaanbaatar (MNG) v Must CPK (MAC)
Tainan City FC (TPE) v Taichung Futuro FC (TPE)

Taichung Futuro FC firmly established their grip on the Group I top spot with a 2-1 win over Tainan City FC and will be determined to maintain their perfect record when the two Chinese Taipei sides square off again on Thursday. 

Taichung sit three points clear at the top and will edge closer to a place in the Inter-Zone semi-finals if FC Ulaanbaatar drop points against Must CPK.

The Mongolian side, however, will count on home ground advantage for another win after having defeated Must CPK when the two teams met in Macau two weeks ago. 

By Nadeem Faisal Baiga