Saturday, September 21, 2013

AFC Cup Preview: Al Kuwait v New Radiant

Al Kuwait head into the second leg of their AFC Cup quarter-final with New Radiant knowing they are on the cusp of reaching the last four.Rasmee Dhandu Stadium

Marin Ion's men cruised to a 7-2 victory in the first leg in the Maldives and securing their progress to the semi-finals on Tuesday should be a formality.

Tunisian striker Issam Jemaa was the key man in the first leg, the 29-year-old finding the net four times as the Kuwaiti champions picked apart the New Radiant defence.

That result should give the hosts supreme confidence going into the second leg, but they will be eager to guard against complacency.

Still, the defending champions will be heavy favourites for the game at the Al Kuwait Sports Club Stadium, with the focus sure to be on Jemaa as he looks to add to his tally of 10 goals in this competition so far.

Both sides will have to make changes ahead of the game, with Mohamed Umair suspended for New Radiant, and Abudulhadi Khamis banned for Al Kuwait after both players were dismissed in the closing stages of the first leg.

New Radiant displayed great spirit in the second half of that contest, Ali Fasir and Ali Ashfaq pulling goals back after they had fallen 6-0 behind before the interval.

Chedi Hammami's late penalty all but ended their hopes but Velizar Popov's men should be keen to regain some respectability and avoid another dismal loss.

Popov will likely look to striker Ali Ashfaq - who has nine goals in the competition so far - to inspire them to victory.

The winner of the tie will face either East Bengal or Semen in the last four.


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