Stage set for new AFC Cup™ Champions to be crowned

19/10/2022 11:23:06 AM   Sportsdeewana         1763

Stage set for new AFC Cup™ Champions to be crowned

First time champions will be crowned when Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur City FC meet Al Seeb Club of Oman in the AFC Cup™ 2022 Final on October 22 (Saturday) at 7pm (local time) at the Bukit Jalil Stadium.

With both teams in their maiden Continental campaigns, Kuala Lumpur City will be aiming to emulate fellow Malaysian side Johor Darul Ta'zim, the AFC Cup™ 2015 champions, while Al Seeb will be seeking to be the first Oman club to lift the coveted trophy, with the winners also clinching a place in next season’s AFC Champions League™ Preliminary Stage.

The eagerly anticipated showdown will be the second match in the tournament’s history to implement the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system, following its debut in the AFC Cup™ 2021 Final clash between Bahrain’s Muharraq Club and Uzbekistan’s FC Nasaf.

Both teams overcame tough journeys to book their places in the AFC Cup™ 2022 Final, with Kuala Lumpur City advancing from the ASEAN Zone Group Stage as the best runners-up from the three groups.

With the ASEAN Zone contested again after a two-year lapse due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bojan Hodak's side impressed as they drew 0-0 with Indonesia's PSM Makassar and defeated Tampines Rovers of Singapore 2-1 in the centralised Group H.

Their runners-up finish meant an ASEAN Zonal Semi-final face-off with Group I winners Viettel FC of Vietnam and Kuala Lumpur City displayed tremendous resilience to force a goalless draw over 120 minutes before triumphing 6-5 on penalties in Ho Chi Minh City.

Up next was a rematch with PSM Makassar - who defeated another Malaysian side Kedah Darul Aman in their Semi-final - in the ASEAN Zonal Final.

Kuala Lumpur City roared before their home fans to record an emphatic 5-2 win to advance to an Inter-Zone Semi-final against India's ATK Mohun Bagan, the South Zone winners.

Another fabulous performance by captain Paulo Josue and his teammates saw Kuala Lumpur register a 3-1 win at Kolkata's Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan Stadium to advance to the Inter-Zone Final against PFC Sogdiana of Uzbekistan.

Kuala Lumpur City had to dig deep yet again with the tie ending 0-0 after extra-time in Jizzakh. The Malaysian side were at their best in the penalty shootout, winning 5-3 to book a historic place in the AFC Cup™ 2022 Final.

Al Seeb Club advanced to the AFC Cup™ 2022 Final in equally challenging fashion.

Drawn in the West Zone's Group A, Al Seeb kicked off their campaign with a 1-0 win over Syria's Jableh. That was followed by a 2-1 defeat to three-time AFC Cup™ winners Kuwait SC but Al Seeb Club were at their best on Matchday Three as they cruised to a 4-0 win over Al Ansar to finish as the Group A winners.

Up next in the West Zone Semi-finals were Arabi SC of Kuwait, with the match bursting into life in extra-time with Al Seeb Club triumphing 2-1.

After a tight first half, Al Seeb Club seized control of the West Zone Final against Bahrain's Al Riffa to cruise to a 4-0 win to move within one match of becoming the first club from Oman to win an AFC club competition.

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