Two Categories, Six Games, Decider Or Dead Rubber?

While some of the regions within the AFC Cup are having their second-legs this week, others are still to play their final group game. Why it is done that way, I have simply no idea. I don’t make the rules, I just bring you the news. Let’s not worry too much about the AFC and their problems. Let’s worry about what games we’ve got today. There are two sections when it comes to the final matchday in any competition and the AFC Cup is no exception. A game is either a decider OR a dead rubber. It cannot be both. One or the other. Dead rubber or decider. Decider or dead rubber. Simples.

Group I Loves A Dead Rubber

Naturally, we’re not going to pay much attention to the games that fall in the dead rubber category because there’s not much point. Only fair, right? Group I can be forgotten about it in a heartbeat as both games are firmly in the dead rubber category. 4.25’s win over Hwaepul a couple of weeks back means that nothing is going to change on the final day in Group I.

Group D has one of each. FC Ahal’s trip to FC Alay means absolutely nothing to nobody at all. Dead rubber. In complete contrast, Istiklol vs Altyn Asyr is a MASSIVE game. Istiklol are in the driver’s seat as they’ve got a two-point cushion over their rivals which means Altyn Asyr have to attack them. Which, in turn, will play straight into Istiklol’s hands. It’s a tough one to call.

Winner Takes All In The Decider In Tajikistan 

Previously when the sides met at Istiklol’s manor, the side from Tajikistan came away 1-0 winners. If that happens again, Istiklol will qualify. If it’s a draw, Istiklol will qualify. Altyn Asyr can only qualify with a win. Got it? Well and truly a decider.

So far then, we’ve got a group with two in the dead rubber category. A group with one in each camp. So the last group should have both games in the decider part, right? Correct! Bang on the money. Group E is our final stop on this wonderful magical mystery tour.

Only one out of New Radiant & Bengaluru can make it to the next round. Both sides have away ties. It’s do or die. Before we find out who’s playing who etc, I just want to have a moan. I know, shocking, isn’t it? Why aren’t tiebreakers split on goal difference as opposed to H2H? Drives me round the bend. The reason I say this, is Bengaluru and New Radiant (NRSC) are level on points and there’s only a single goal between them. Imagine how much more fun the games would be if they had to outscore one another. Sigh.

NRSC Are In Control In The Group E

NRSC are in charge of their own destiny as they’ll only be too aware of. All they need to do is beat Aizawl and they’ll be through. That sounds straightforward enough, but they’ve only won once away in their last twelve continental games. In those twelve games, they’ve scored a whopping three goals. However, that win was during this campaign, so maybe they’ll be alright after all.

Elsewhere, Bengaluru travel to the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka where they face off against Abahani. If Albert Roca’s side better NRSC’s result, they’ll qualify, it really is simple. Abahani have only won once at home in the AFC Cup, any guesses who it was against? Aye, that’s right, Bengaluru. It’s rather weird how everything works out, isn’t it?

Either way, this is all you need to know regarding Group E permutations.

  • NRSC win, they are through regardless of Bengaluru’s result.
  • If NRSC draw, they are through if Bengaluru fail to win.
  • If NRSC lose, they are through if Bengaluru lose.
  • Bengaluru NEED to better NRSC’s result, if they do that, they are through.

That is your lot then. For those that want to know what time the action kicks off (all times are in BST) and what games to keep an eye out for, look no further…

  • 4.25 vs Hang Yuen @ 12:00 (Dead Rubber)
  • Benfica vs Hwaepul @ 12:00 (Dead Rubber)
  • FC Alay vs FC Ahal @ 12:30 (Dead Rubber)
  • FC Istiklol vs Altyn Asyr @ 12:30 (Decider)
  • Abahani Dhaka vs Bengaluru @ 14:15 (Decider)
  • Aizawl vs New Radiant @ 14:15 (Decider).

Check back in on Thursday to find out what’s happened and who is through to the next round.

Until the next time.