Malaysia-Indonesia rivalry renewed as Kuala Lumpur City, PSM Makassar set up tantalising AFC Cup ASEAN Zone final

Having played out a 0-0 draw in the group stage, Kuala Lumpur City and PSM Makassar will once again meet in the AFC Cup 2022 ASEAN Zone final on Aug. 24. Asian Football Confederation

The age-old rivalry between Malaysia and Indonesia always guarantees added spice and drama.

So even if it is two of their club sides -- and not the national teams -- that will be facing off on Aug. 24, it is almost certain to be a tantalising affair.

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Oh -- did we mention yet that when Malaysia Super League outfit Kuala Lumpur City and Indonesia Liga 1's PSM Makassar meet on Wednesday, they will be doing battle in the ASEAN Zone final of AFC Cup 2022?

It will not just be bragging rights over their fiercest rivals up for grabs. Bragging rights as the competition's best team in the entire Southeast Asian region will also be on offer.

So how did both teams get here? And who looks likelier to emerge triumphant?

PSM were the first team to advance from the ASEAN Zone final , claiming a 2-1 victory over another Malaysian club in Kedah Darul Aman.

Having cruised to a two-goal lead, the Indonesians were made to work for the win late on as they finished the game with nine men as their opponents also pulled a goal back late on.

Already, the immediate cost from Tuesday's tie is the fact that PSM will be without two defenders through suspension in Yuran Fernandes, who also scored against Kedah, and Agung Mannan.

Nonetheless, PSM are arguably the wealthier of the two in terms of experience at this level.

Having also reached the zonal semis back in 2019, they have already surpassed their previous best achievement and will now be looking to not only go all the way in the regional stage, but march on further in the main competition.

Does that necessarily mean KL City will be the clear underdogs?

Not quite, for both teams look evenly matched on paper, and there is a recent meeting to further strengthen that notion.

Curiously, both teams met in the group stage and there was no separating the two as they played out a 0-0 draw. In their other Group H outings against Singapore's Tampines Rovers, PSM came from behind to claim a 3-1 triumph while KL City were 2-1 victors courtesy of a Paulo Josue brace.

KL City also showed impressive mettle to book their place in the zonal final, having come up against Viettel in their own zonal semifinal tie.

The Vietnamese outfit, who featured in the top-tier AFC Champions League just last season, had been shaping up as the favourites in the ASEAN Zone after a string of impressive performances in the group stage.

As expected, it was Viettel who dominated proceedings -- enjoying 72% of possession and firing off 25 shots to KL City's measly five.

Yet, the reigning Malaysia Cup champions not only held firm to initially force extra-time but then held their nerve -- having been the first to miss in the shootout -- to win 6-5 on penalties.

Despite it being their maiden appearance in the tournament, KL City have reason to believe they can be the ones celebrating on Aug. 24.

Either way, the AFC Cup 2022 ASEAN Zone final promises to be a tantalising affair, made all the more intriguing by it being the latest -- but certainly not the last -- chapter in a fearsome age-old rivalry.