AFC Cup 2022: All you need to know about Kuala Lumpur City FC, ATK Mohun Bagan’s inter-zone playoff SF opponents

Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur City FC returned to an Asian continental competition after a gap of 28 years and their journey so far has been long and impressive.

To earn an inter-zone playoff semi-final against Hero Indian Super League (ISL) side ATK Mohun Bagan, the Malaysian Cup winners have had to take a long route.

Having started their campaign in the group stages, KL City FC finished second in their group behind Indonesia’s PSM Makassar and qualified for the next round as the best runners-up from Groups G, H and I.

City then had to overcome Vietnam’s Viettel FC and PSM Makassar again to win the ASEAN Zone and book a place in the Inter-Zone Playoff semi-final.

KL City FC finished sixth in the 12-team Malaysian Super League last season and qualified for the AFC Cup thanks to their triumph in the Malaysian Cup.

History

Kuala Lumpur City FC was in 1974 by the Kuala Lumpur Football Association as Kuala Lumpur. The club later changed its name to Kuala Lumpur FA, then to Kuala Lumpur United after the club’s privatisation and more recently to Kuala Lumpur City FC as the club is known now.

KL City FC are two-time Malaysian champions who have enjoyed better success in cup competitions winning the Malaysian Cup four times along with three Malaysian FA Cups.

The golden period for the club was in the 1980s when they were among the dominant forces in Malaysian football. Their only three previous appearances in Asian club competitions came between 1987 and 1994.

Their best performance in Asia was in 1994 in the Asian Cup Winners’ Cup where they reached the quarter-finals.

Kuala Lumpur City FC were relegated to the third tier of Malaysian football in 2013 for the first time in history but have since bounced back to play in the top tier and are slowly regaining its lost stature.

Form Guide: LDWWD

KL City FC are currently fifth in the Malaysian Super League and come into the match against ATK Mohun Bagan in mixed form, having won just two of their last five matches. They were beaten 5-0 by Malaysian league leaders Johor Darul Ta’zim a month ago but have done well to bounce back from that loss.

In the AFC Cup, KL City FC are unbeaten with two draws and two wins so far and have scored seven goals, conceding just three.

Head-to-head record

This will be the first meeting between KL City FC and ATK Mohun Bagan

Key Players

Paulo Josue: The KL City FC captain is their top scorer in the AFC Cup with two goals so far. The Brazilian attacking midfielder has scored 37 times for the club in over 100 appearances and has a knack for scoring in big games. He netted his team’s second goal in the Malaysian Cup final last year.

Romel Morales: The Colombian striker is in his second season with the club and has already made his mark at KL City FC scoring 18 times in 40 appearances. He was the top scorer in last year’s Malaysia Cup and has all the attributes to hurt ATK Mohun Bagan who haven’t been at their defensive best so far this campaign.

Kevin Ray Mendoza: The Philippines international goalkeeper will have a key role to play for KL City FC against ATK Mohun Bagan who are expected to be on the front foot on home soil and pepper the KL City FC goal. Mendoza who has experience of playing in Denmark will need to have a solid game for the Malaysian side if they are to prevail at the Salt Lake stadium.

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