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Home United to play away for second leg of AFC Cup final vs. Ceres-Negros

Home United will take on Ceres-Negros in August with the Singapore side knowing a meeting with 2015 AFC Cup runners up FC Istiklol from Tajikistan awaits if they can see off the side from the Philippines in the ASEAN Zonal Final.

Istiklol lost to Johor Darul Ta'zim, of Malaysia, in the final two seasons ago. Aidil Sharin's team could take on the Tajikistan champions if they can by-pass Ceres over two legs.

The first game of the ASEAN Zonal Final will be played on Aug. 2 with the return in the Philippines a week later.

JDT were the first team from Southeast Asia to win the title. Home United's best performance in the competition to date came in 2004, when Steve Darby led his side to the semifinals.

Home advanced to this phase of the competition after topping Group H ahead of Yadanarbon of Myanmar and Vietnam's Than Quang Ninh before seeing off Global FC of the Philippines in the zonal semifinals.

Irfan Fandi for Home United in AFC Cup
Home United have the disadvantage of playing their second leg vs. Ceres away from home.

India's Bengaluru, meanwhile, will face a trip to North Korea in the next phase after the I-League side were drawn to take on Pyongyang's 4.25 SC in the competition's Inter Zonal playoffs.

Albert Roca's team will host the first leg on Aug. 23 before travelling to Pyongyang for the second leg three weeks later.

Bengaluru, who lost in last year's final, squeezed into the knockout phase with a win in their final round of group matches against Maziya of the Maldives having lost their previous two games to put their chances of advancing in jeopardy.

4.25 progressed to the knockout rounds after finishing on top of Group I, which featured fellow North Korean side Kigwancha and Erchim from Mongolia. Their forward Kim Yu-song is the tournament's leading scorer with nine goals in four games.

The format of the competition guarantees that either Syria's Al Wahda or defending champions Air Force from Iraq will reach the final. The pair will meet in the Zonal Final for the west of the continent with the Syrians hosting the first leg on Sep. 12.

In the AFC Champions League, two-time winners Guangzhou Evergrande will take on fellow Chinese Super League side Shanghai SIPG in the last eight while an all-Japan quarterfinal will see Urawa Red Diamonds play Kawasaki Frontale.

Al Ain, who lost in the final last year having previously won the title in 2003, were drawn to face two-time Asian champions Al Hilal from Saudi Arabia. It promises to be a fascinating clash, with the first game to be played in the United Arab Emirates.

Iranian giants Persepolis, meanwhile, will face off against Al Ahli from Saudi Arabia.

AFC Cup draw

Inter-Zone Playoffs

Home United (SIN) v Ceres Negros (PHI)

Inter-Zone Playoff Semifinal 1

FC Istiklol (TJK) v Zonal Champions - ASEAN

Inter-Zone Playoff Semifinal 2

JSW Bengaluru (IND) v 4.25 (PRK)

Zonal Final West

Al Wahda (Syria) v Air Force (Iraq)

*Final hosted by winners of the Inter-Zone Playoff Semifinal

AFC Champions League draw

East Asia

Shanghai SIPG (CHN) v Guangzhou Evergrande (CHN)

Kawasaki Frontale (JPN) v Urawa Red Diamonds (JPN)

West Asia

Al Ain (UAE) v Al Hilal (KSA)

Persepolis (Iran) v Al Ahli (KSA)

Michael Church has written about Asian football for more than 20 years and mainly covers the Chinese game for ESPN FC. Twitter: @michaelrgchurch

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