The first legs of the AFC Cup Inter-Zonal semifinals turned out to be one-sided affairs with the home teams establishing a firm grip on the ties. Let's take a look at what transpired on the continent:
FC ISTIKOL 4-0 CERES NEGROS [Nazarov 25' Dzalilov 45' Dzhalilov 67', 88']
Manuchehr Dzhalilov's second-half brace ensured that Tajikistan's FC Istiklol already have a foot in the Inter-Zonal final after a thumping 4-0 win over Philippine's Ceres Negros on Tuesday night.
At the Hisor Central stadium, Ceres Negros never turned up and the home team had the lead in the 25th minute when Akhtam Nazarov converted a penalty before Romish Dzalilov scored their second of the game on the stroke of half-time.
An expected fight back from Ceres never materialised as star striker Manuchehr Dzhalilov made it 3-0 in the 67th minute with a lovely long-ranger. He would then go on to put the icing on the cake just before full-time by grabbing his brace and ensuring Istiklol have the Inter-Zonal final within touching distance.
BENGALURU FC 3-0 4.25 SC [Chhetri 32' Udanta 51' Rodrigues 78']
Sunil Chhetri ran the show as India's Bengaluru FC ran out comfortable 3-0 winners over North Korean champions 4.25 SC on a rainy Wednesday night in Bengaluru.
Bengaluru FC surged into the lead in the 32nd minute when the referee awarded them a penalty after a foul on Udanta Singh by the 4.25 SC goalkeeper. Sunil Chhetri went on to score with a Panenka chip as Bengaluru reached the break ahead. Six minutes into the second half, Udanta Singh showed his pace by surging into the box and rolling a finish into the bottom corner, sending Bengaluru 2-0 up.
As 4.25 SC tried to mount a fightback, torrential rain hit the stadium and the pitch became water-logged, affecting the play of the visitors. Bengaluru would take full toll as Chhetri set up Lenny Rodrigues to come up with a sliding finish to ensure the Indian side go into the second leg in Pyongyang with a huge advantage.