AFC Cup Knockout Stage: Explained

The Central Coast Mariners continue on our AFC Cup journey on Thursday night, coming up against Macarthur FC on Thursday night at Campbelltown Stadium.

While this match is referred to as the Zonal Final, this does not mean that a win against the Bulls will result in us lifting the AFC Cup.

Instead, a victory will see us progress to the next stage of the competition, the Interzonal Semi Final.

Want to know what our journey could look like to win the entire competition? See our explainer below on the knockout stages of the AFC Cup.

Our Potential Journey To The Final

Following our victory over Phnom Penh Crown FC last week, the Mariners are now in the ASEAN Zonal Final against Macarthur FC.

16 teams from countries including Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia all begun the Group Stages with the goal of making it to this final. Our of those clubs, just us and Macarthur remain.

The winner of Thursday night’s match will be the ASEAN Zone Champion, with the next step being the Inter-zone play-off semi-finals against the Champion of the South Asian Zone.

This zone, which included Jason Cummings’ Mohun Bagan, was won by fellow Indian club Odisha, which also feature a few familiar faces.

Former Wellington Phoenix forward Roy Krishna has been a standout for them this season, while former Mariner Cy Goddard is also signed with the club.

The winner of our game against Macarthur will play Odisha across two legs, both home and away, with the victor then moving on to the Inter-zone play-off Final.

That game will be against one of two teams, who are set to play in their own Inter-zone play-off semi-final. The first is Kyrgyzstan side Abdysh-Ata Kant, who topped their Group as undefeated champions against teams from Turkmenistan and Tajikistan.

They face off against Taiwan team Taichung Futuro FC for a spot in the Inter-zone Play-off Final.

The winner of the Inter-zonal play-off final (which will feature one of the above sides and one of Odisha, the Mariners and Macarthur) will then finally make it to the AFC Cup Final.

On the other side of the bracket in West Asia, there are currently three teams that remain. Oman outfit Al-Nahda secured a place in the West Asia Zonal Final with a 4-2 aggregate win over Bahrain team Al-Riffa, meaning they are just one step away from the AFC Cup Final.

In their way stands Iraqi team Al-Kahrabaa (who currently lead 1-0 in the two-legged semi) and Lebanon side Al Ahed.

The winner of the West Asian Zone Final will host the AFC Cup final this season, with the East having hosted last season.

See the below image on what our path to the AFC Cup Final could look like, and get your tickets to the AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal Final against Macarthur on Thursday night HERE!