Match: Air Force Club v Al Ahed
Date: 27 September, Tuesday
Time: 12am SGT (Wednesday)/9:30pm IST/5pm BST
Venue: Al Wakrah Sports Club
Competition: 2016 AFC Cup
TV Coverage: In Singapore, the TV coverage of the clash between Air Force Club and Al Ahed will be on Fox Sports Singapore
Air Force Club host Al Ahed in the 2016 AFC Cup semi-final first leg at the Al Wakrah Sports Club in Doha on 27 September.
The hosts, also known as Al Quwa Al Jawiya, came up a with a dominating performance in their quarter-final second leg away from home against Syrian side Al Jaish. After conceding an away goal in the first leg, the Air Force Club overpowered the 2004 champions 4-0 on 20 September to reach the semi-final on a 5-1 aggregate. Despite going into the break with scores tied at 0-0, the Iraqi side came up with a complete attacking display in the second half.
Air Force Club would be hoping to continue their impressive goal-scoring form in their debut AFC Cup appearance. Scoring 15 goals, they topped Group C with five wins from six matches. They also edged out Jordanian side Al Wehdat 2-1 in their Round of 16 clash.
Striker Hammadi Ahmed scored yet another goal in the clash against Al Jaish. The tournament's top-scorer took his tally to 14. However, the Iraqi international will miss the semi-final first leg on Tuesday after he picked up his second yellow card of the competition in their quarter-final win.
Air Force coach Basim Qasim rued missing his key striker Ahmed but said his side are well prepared to take on the Lebanese champions.
"The absence of Hammadi Ahmad will affect our front line, but we have prepared well and hopefully we will be able to fill in the gap due to his absence tomorrow," Qasim was quoted as saying by the AFC Cup's official website.
"Al Ahed are not an easy side as they have several good professional players. Therefore, our players should give their best tomorrow and try to avoid mistakes while we should also try our best to take advantage of the chances that we will create in order to get the victory that we want."
Meanwhile, Ahed will be boosted by their quarter-final showing against Al Muharraq. They maintained clean sheets in both the legs and handed the Bahraini giants their first defeat of the competition at home.
Despite conceding nine goals from six matches in the group stages, they have been disciplined at the back in the knockout stages. In their Round of 16 clash against Syria's Al Wahda, they netted four times but did not concede even once.
Striker Ahmad Zreik, Ahed's top-scorer with five goals in the tournament, will be crucial to the side's chances against Air Force Club. Also, Nigerian forward Musa Kabiru showed glimpses of what he is capable of with a goal at Muharraq in his AFC Cup debut.
Robert Jaspert's side has peaked at the right time and are looking good to progress in the tournament. However, the coach says he is wary of their in-form opponents ahead of Tuesday's clash.
"The match against Air Force will be very hard because they have shown great performances in their matches in the competition including in their last match against Al Jaish when they won with a great result," Jaspert said.
"We want to give our best tomorrow in order to return to Beirut with the best possible result before the second leg that we will play at home."
Singapore: Fox Sports Singapore
China: Star Sports China
Malaysia: Fox Sports Malaysia
Thailand: Fox Sports Thailand
Air Force Club
Possible XI: Fahab Talib; Samal Saeed, Ali Bahjat Fadhil, Saad Natiq, Sameh Saeed Mjabel; Hamid Mido, Osama ali, Zahir Midani, Bashar Rasan Bonyan; Amjad Radhi, Emad Mehsen
Possible XI: Hasan Bitar; Hussein Dakik, Nour Mansour, Jamal Khalife, Khalil Khamis; Abbas Ali Atwi, Hassan Chaito, Denis Iguma; Ahmad Zreik, Musa Kabiru, Mohamad Haidar