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AFC Cup Preview: New Radiant v Al Kuwait

Defending AFC Cup holders Al Kuwait continue the defence of their title with a quarter-final clash against New Radiant on Tuesday.

The Maldivian champions are playing in their first AFC Cup since 2008 and will be hoping to reach the semi-finals for only the second time.

Al Kuwait will provide a stern test for them – the Kuwaiti side have contested the last four AFC Cup finals and Marin Ion will be hoping to keep them on course for a third title.

The two sides meet in Male for the first leg of their last-eight clash having never previously met in this competition before.

New Radiant may not have an illustrious history in this competition but they showed their qualities during the group stages as they ended top scorers with 20 goals in their six matches.

They are unbeaten in their past 19 games in all competitions and sit on top of the league after the opening five matches of the new season.

Velizar Popov’s side will be looking to striker Ali Ashfaq to lead the line, the 28-year-old has scored nine goals so far in the AFC Cup and added 10 goals in two games for the Maldives during the recent South Asian Football Federation Cup wins against Bhutan and Sri Lanka.

Midfielder Mohamed Umair will also pose a threat for New Radiant having scored six goals in the competition already – including a double against Persibo in May.

Al Kuwait have also started their league campaign well – with two wins out of two – and they topped Group A with four wins in their six matches.

Issam Jemaa has led the way in the scoring charts for them and has six in seven appearances so far.

The Tunisian forward has linked particularly well with midfielder Abdullah Al Buraiki – and the 26-year-old has also chipped in with three goals during the competition.

Sun 15 September, 2013
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