AFC Cup: East Bengal face Semen Padang in quarters

New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) I-League club East Bengal have been pitted against tournament debutants Semen Padang of Indonesia in their home and away quarterfinal matches of the AFC Cup football tournament in September.

The first leg of the 2013 AFC Cup quarter-finals will be held September 17 with the return fixtures taking place one week later.

The draw for the quarterfinals of Asia’s second tier club competition was made at AFC headquarters in Kuala Lumpur Thursday. East Bengal are making their second appearance in the quarterfinals in their seventh attempt.

Meanwhile, defending champions Kuwait Sports Club face an intriguing quarterfinal clash with Maldivian champions New Radiant.

Kuwait SC, the champions in 2009 and runners-up two years later, won their second AFC Cup title with a comprehensive 4-0 hammering of Iraqi side Arbil, who were denied a place in the quarter-finals after their surprise 4-3 extra-time defeat at home to Syria’s Al Shorta.

Al Shorta’s reward for their hard-fought Round of 16 win over the four-time Iraqi Premier League champions is a quarter-final clash with another Kuwaiti SC’s domestic rivals Al Qadsia.

While Kuwait SC scrapped into the last eight with a penalty shootout victory over Iraqi side Duhok, Al Qadsia’s progress to the quarter-finals was more straightforward with the 2010 runners-up enjoying a comfortable 4-0 win over Oman’s Fanja.

Like Kuwait SC, Al Faisaly are also looking to become the first club to win the AFC Cup for the third time and the first hurdle in the way of the 2004 and 2005 champions is Hong Kong’s Kitchee, who were propelled to the last eight with the help of the tournament’s leading scorer Jordi Tarres.

The 32-year-old Spaniard has found the net in every match in this year’s AFC Cup and will be looking to add to his 11 goals to help Kitchee become the first side from Hong Kong to contest the trophy after South China were eliminated in the semi-final stage in 2009.

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