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AFC Cup 2017: Bengaluru maintain perfect start; Home United qualify for zonal playoffs

Goal.com logo Goal.com 19-04-2017

Tuesday saw frenetic action in the Asian continent with nine matches taking place across the various zones of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup. Worry not if you have missed all the action, for we have the roundup from all games right here:

GROUP A (WEST ZONE):

AL AHLI (JOR) 1-2 AL JAISH [Malick 85' - Kadoor 22' Kalfa 41']

Syrian side Al Jaish assured themselves of a top-two finish in Group A by notching a 1-2 away victory against Jordan's Al Ahli on Tuesday at the Amman International Stadium.

The first half was all visitors as Al Jaish went two goals up before the break. The first came in the 22nd minute after towering centre-back Zakaria Al Kaddour scored with an emphatic header from a corner. The second goal came four minutes before half-time as Yousef Kalfa found the back of the net with a stinging low drive from 20 yards out. In the second-half, Al Ahli were markedly better and were given a chance to score when Ahmad Al Essawi was brought down inside the area but Mark Macauley's spotkick was saved by Ahmad Madanieh.

But Tall Malick did get a goal back for the home team in the 85th minute with a brilliant volley at the back post which crept in despite Madanieh getting a hand to it. Alas, it was a bit late as Al Jaish held on to a win that sees Al Ahli's challenge in the group end. Al Jaish are now second in the group with nine points, two behind Al Zawra'a.

AL SUWAIQ 0-1 AL ZAWRA'A [Al-Saadi 25' (OG)]

An own goal from Hassan Al-Saadi was enough for Al Zawra'a to defeat Al Suwaiq 1-0 away and maintain their two-point advantage atop Group A as they seek to nail the automatic qualification spot by finishing as Group winners.

In a game of not many chances, the deciding factor was Hassan Al-Saadi's unlucky own goal in the 25th minute. Al Zawra'a attacking midfielder Amjad Kalaf had embarked on a incisive run down the right and his effort to head a pass back into a teammate's path saw the ball ricochet off his covering defender Al-Saadi and creep into the net. Though Al Suwaiq created several chances following the goal to get a goal back, their profligacy in front of goal let them down.

While Al Suwaiq crashed out of the group, Al Zawra'a only have to better or equal Al Jaish's result on matchday six.

GROUP B (WEST ZONE):

AL WAHDA 0-2 AL HIDD [Al Daoud 59' 76']

Al Hidd pulled off a surprise of sorts by defeating Al Wahda 2-0 away and complicating the situation atop Group B where three teams are currently separated by just a single point.

AFC Cup: Al Muharraq takes charge in Group C

Al Hidd went into this fixture on the back of two consecutive wins over Safa SC and looked up to the task against the Syrians in what was a tightly contested first-half. However, the tide of the battle changed post the break and it was the away side who surged into the lead just before the hour mark. Mohammad Al Daoud saw a corner from the left fall to his feet inside the box and he swivelled smartly to sweep the ball in. The Syrian striker then bagged his brace in the 76th minute after he was left criminally unmarked during another corner from the left. Though his initial header was saved, he reacted quickly to stab home the rebound and seal all three points for his team.

The result has propelled Al Hidd to the top of the table with nine points from five games along with Air Force Club. Al Wahda, meanwhile, are third with eight points.

AIR FORCE CLUB 2-0 SAFA SC [Al Saadi (OG) 28' Radhi 38']

Defending champions Air Force Club breathed fresh life into their title defence by returning to the top of Group B by defeating Safa SC 2-0 in Doha on Tuesday, in a match that witnessed a red card and a missed penalty.

Safa SC's central defender Ali Al Saadhi turned out to be the villain for Safa as he inadvertently put the ball into his own net in the 28th minute to give Air Force Club a lead they desperately sought. The Iraqi club then doubled their advantage ten minutes later when they were awarded a penalty after Qasim Laila was sent off for handling the ball on the goal line. Amjad Radhi converted the spot-kick without much fuss and Air Force Club stamped their authority on the game.

However, Safa were given a chance to pull a goal back in the 85th minute when the referee awarded them a penalty, only to see Al Saadhi miss it and complete a miserable day for him. THe result sees Safa crash out of the tournament while Air Force Club have their fate in their own hands.

GROUP D (CENTRAL ZONE):

FC ISTIKLOL 3-1 FC ALAY [Davronov 45+1' Mawutor 68' Vasiev 89' - Sylla 59']

Tajikistan's FC Istiklol maintained the status quo atop Group D by downing FC Alay 3-1 on Tuesday and ensuring they stayed abreast with Altyn Asyr with seven points from three games.

In Dushanbe, it was the hosts who had the upper hand right from the start but they had to wait until the stroke of half-time to get a well-deserved lead. Nuriddin Davronov hit the back of the net with a well-taken penalty, awarded after Abduaziz Makamov fouled David Mawutor in the box. But FC Alay got an equaliser in the 59th-minute after good work from Maksadbek Alimov saw Alia Sylla score. But Istiklol responded quickly enough and regained their lead nine minutes later through Mawutor who headed home Fatkhullo Fatkhulloev’s corner.

As Alay pushed for an equaliser, Istiklol struck the death blow, courtesy of a Dilshod Vasiev header from Jahongir Aliev’s cross from the right wing. The win means Istiklol joint-top and it seems like the Tajikistan side will fight for a place in the playoffs with fellow group leaders Altyn Asyr.

DORDOI FC 0-2 ALTYN ASYR [Yakshiyev 43' Annadurdyyev 84']

Turkmenistan's Altyn Asyr ensured they kept pace with FC Istiklol in Group D by defeating Kyrgyz Republic side Dordoi FC 2-0 away in Bishkek on Tuesday.

Playing away to Dordoi FC, Altyn Asyr never looked meek and had a great chance to take the lead in the 18th minute when Arslanmurat Amanov struck the post after they were awarded a penalty. But Murat Yakshiyev spared his teammate's blushes by sending a crisp low finish in from the edge of the area after good work from Altymyrat Annadurdyyev and Serdar Annaorazov down the right flank. Post the break, the flow of the game changed slightly with Dordoi FC creating several chances but it was Altyn Asyr who scored the second goal of the game in the 84th minute and sealed the three points.

Annadurdyyev received the ball from Zhyrgalbek Kairat and surged past the lone defender into the area and scuffed a finish into the far corner. The result leaves Dordoi FC on three points from three games while Altyn Asyr are atop Group D with seven points.

GROUP E (SOUTH ZONE):

BENGALURU FC 2-0 ABAHANI LTD DHAKA [Nishu 40' Jugovic 82']

Last year's runners up Bengaluru FC maintained their perfect start to the competition by seeing off Abahani Dhaka 2-0 at home on Tuesday, thanks to strikes from Nishu Kumar and Marjan Jugovic.

Bengaluru were the dominant side right from the outset, though either side had chances take the lead. However, the opening goal was scored by Bengaluru in the 40th minute when Nishu Kumar was played in to the box by Daniel Lalhlimpuia and the former fired a low shot into the corner. Bengaluru should have doubled their lead in the second half but last-ditch defending from Abahani players denied them the goal.

However, their Serbian striker Marjan Jugovic ensured all three points in the 82nd minute by finishing a square ball from Eugeneson Lyngdoh in off the underside off the crossbar. The result leaves Bengaluru firmly in charge of Group E with three wins from three games while Abahani are yet to register a point themselves.

GROUP H (ASEAN ZONE):

HOME UNITED 4-1 YADANARBON [Yunos 12' Ramli 16' Fandi 26' Swandi 72' - Thu Aung 45+3']

Singapore's Home United qualified for the ASEAN Zonal playoffs by winning the three-team Group H with a convincing 4-1 win over Myanmar's Yadanarbon on Tuesday, in a dramatic match that witnessed three red cards and several goals.

Home United got off to a great start by surging into the lead in the 12th minute with Afiq Yunos heading in a pull back from a corner expertly. Four minutes later, the scoreline read 2-0 as Faris Ramli converted a penalty he himself won. The night soon turned into a nightmare for Yadanarbon as Irfan Fandi stabbed home a loose ball inside the box from another corner in the 26th minute. 10 minutes later, Yadanarbon striker Yan Paing was sent off for a deliberate stamp on Fandi but soon after Home United's Sirina Camara was also sent off with the match descending into a brawl. Meanwhile, Aung Thu converted a rebound from a parry in the first-half stoppage time to pull a goal back for Yadanarbon.

Home United maintained their control over the game throughout the second half and added gloss to the scoreline in the 72nd minute when Adam Swandi scored with a sensational grounder from 25 yards. There was another red card late on as Yadanarbon's Ye Ko Oo receiving the marching orders as the away side finished the game with 9 men. The result leaves Yadanarbon with an outside chance of making the playoffs as the best second-placed team if they can win their final group game against Than Quang Ninh.

GROUP I (EAST ZONE):

4.25 SC 1-1 KIGWANCHA SC [Myong-Song 45' - Kun-Hyok 56']

The first ever Pyongyang derby in the AFC Cup ended in a 1-1 draw as North Korean outfits 4.25 SC and Kigwancha SC shared the spoils on Tuesday in three-team Group I.

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It was 4.25 SC who surged into the lead on the stroke of half-time through defender Pak Myong-Song but Kigwancha SC hit back in the 56th minute through right-back Pak Kun-Hyok. There was no winner in the game as the honours were split even on the day.

Both the North Korean outfits defeated Erchim FC in their opening games of the group but a superior goal difference sees 4.25 SC lead the group at this stage.

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