With Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia having already secured top spot in Group B, Pakhtakor and Al Kuwait meet in Tashkent on Wednesday simply looking to avoid the wooden spoon.
It has been another disappointing campaign for Uzbek giants Pakhtakor, who reached the semi-finals in the first two editions of the AFC Champions League in 2003 and 2004 but have failed to make it past the group stage for the last three years.
They appeared to be in good shape after a 1-0 away win against Al Kuwait in their opening game in March but back-to-back 2-0 defeat against Al Hilal last month put paid to their hopes of reaching the last eight.
Motivation may be low for Pakhtakor after their disappointing displays against the Saudi side but the seven-time Uzbek league champions will be keen to reignite their season with a good performance against the Kuwait league champions at Army Stadium.
The Tashkent side are chasing their sixth consecutive domestic league title but trail two points behind first-placed Neftchi after being held to a 1-1 draw at Kuruvchi last weekend.
Ildar Magdeev netted a late equaliser in that match for Pakhtakor, who have scored 21 goals in 10 games on the domestic front. However, they have found goals much harder to come by in the AFC Champions League with Magdeev’s 68th minute winner at Kuwait Stadium the only time they have found the net in three games.
Defender Ilhomjon Suyunov and reserve goalkeeper Temur Juraev have been ruled out by injury but coach Ravshan Haydarov has an otherwise full-strength squad at his disposal.
Meawhile, Al Kuwait will be looking to end their campaign on a positive note after failing to progress for the third consecutive time in the AFC Champions League.
Fahad Shaheen’s stoppage-time equaliser in the 1-1 away draw against Al Hilal on Matchday One gave the Kuwaiti side some hope of progress but they bowed out tamely after managing only one goal and one point from their home matches against Pakhtakor and Al Hilal.
With their quarter-final prospects dashed, Al Kuwait will see the game in Tashkent as an opportunity to gear up for the remainder of the domestic season under interim coach Mohammed Abdullah.
The club are in a state of flux after dismissing Dutch coach Willem Leushuis last Monday, less than a week after the goalless draw against Al Hilal ended any hope they had of progressing to the quarter-finals.
Despite the sacking of Leushius, it has not been a bad season for the Kaifan side, who have already claimed their ninth Kuwait league title and are in the hunt for a third Kuwait Crown Prince Cup after defeating Kheitan 3-1 last weekend with Meshal Hameed scoring a brace and Argentinean striker Sebastian Monesterolo netting the other goal.
Captain Walied Jumah misses Wednesday’s game after picking up a suspension for receiving two yellow cards in the tournament but there are no injuries to concern Abdullah, who served as an assistant to Leushuis.