The defending champions were held to a goalless draw while the 2016 runners up opened their campaign with a win in the Asian Fottball Confederation (AFC) Cup 2017. Let's take a look at what transpired on Tuesday in the continent's secondary club competition:-
Al Wahda 0-0 Air Force Club
In what was a drab affair, Syria’s Al Wahda club held reigning AFC Cup champions Air Force Club to a goalless draw in a round three Group B encounter.
In a match where neither side could establish dominance or create chances, the best one fell to Air Force Club’s Amjed Rahdi who saw a late shot deflect off teammate Hammadi Ahmed and hit the crossbar.
The result means Air Force Club are still second with five points while Al Wahda’s two-point advantage at the top of the group remains.
Al Hidd 3-1 Safa SC [Olusegun 11’, 62’ Agba 32’ - Echabe 33’]
Bahrain’ Al Hidd club won their first game in Group B after beating fellow stragglers Safa SC, thanks to a brace from Ifedayo Olusegun. The Nigerian striker put Al Hidd into the lead as early as in the 11th minute when he headed in Abdulwahab Al Malood’s corner.
They doubled their advantage in the 32nd minute through Uche Agba before Safa kindled hopes of a comeback with an immediate response when Standli Eshabe pulled a goal back.
But it turned out to be a false dawn as Olusegun completed his brace with a low shot into the corner just past the hour mark.
The win takes Al Hidd to three points and to the third spot while Safa languish at the bottom with just a point.
FC Istiklol 2-0 Dordoi FC [Mawutor 17’ Aliev 22’]
Tajikistan’s FC Istiklol coasted past Kyrgyz Republic’s Dordoi FC 2-0 in the opening round in Group D in Dushanbe on Tuesday.
It was the hosts who looked likely to open the deadlock in the initial exchanges and so they did in the 17th minute through David Mawutor. Dmitrii Barkov’s cross from the right was laid on platter for Mawitor to head it in. It did not take the Tajik side long to double their advantage.
Five minutes later, Jahongir Aliev side-footed home Fatkhullo Fatkhuloev’s corner from the right. Istiklol had plenty of chances to kill the tie off in the second half but Dordoi goalkeeper and on occasions, the woodwork denied them.
FC Alay 1-2 Altyn Asyr [Umarov 55’ - Annadurdyyev 43’ Umarov (OG) 45+3’]
Turkmenistan’s Altyn Asyr started their Group D AFC Cup campaign in perfect style after beating FC Alay away on Tuesday.
Kyrgyz Republic’s FC Alay were the underdogs for this tie but managed to put on a gritty show until the end of first half when Altyn Asyr made the breakthrough. Altymyrat Annadurdyyev pounced on a poor pass from Shuhrat Rahmanov, stepped past Ilyaz Alimov and fired home. They doubled the advantage before the half-time whistle in fortuitous circumstances when defender Akronjon Umarov made a hash of straight forward shot from Serdar Annaorazov and deflected it off the goalkeeper into his own goal.
But Umarov made amends of sorts when he sent home a bullet header off Rahmanov’s cross in the 55th minute. But that proved to be only a consolation as Altyn Asyr went joint top of Group D with Istiklol FC.
Bengaluru FC 2-1 Mohun Bagan [Jhingan 51', Chhetri 57' - Yusa 36']
In what was an ‘all-Indian’ continental affair, 2016 finalists Bengaluru FC sparked a second-half resurgence to defeat rivals Mohun Bagan at home on Tuesday.
In what was a barren half until the 36th minute, an error in judgement from Bengaluru defender Sandesh Jhingan gave Mohun Bagan the lead. Jhingan brought down Sony Norde ill-advisedly inside the box and Mohun Bagan skipper Katsumi Yusa easily dispatched it away.
But a smarting Bengaluru hit back in quick succession after the break. In the 51st minute, Jhingan atoned for his error by sidefooting home a corner from Cameron Watson. Six minutes later, Bagan goalkeeper Shilton Paul was penalised for a handball just outside the area and captain Sunil Chhetri sent a wonderful strike into the bottom corner.
Even after taking the lead, the home team had several opportunities to add a third but ultimately it was not required. Bengaluru have started their AFC Cup campaign on a high note while Bagan will look to regroup and refocus.
Abahani Ltd Dhaka 0-2 Maziya Sports & Recreation Club [Umair 5’ Asadhulla 87’]
Maldives champions Maziya Sports & Recreation Club started their Group E AFC Cup competition with a facile victory over Bangladesh’s Abahani Ltd Dhaka.
Mohamed Umair put Maziya in the lead as early as in the fifth minute when he got on the end of a fantastic through ball from Imaaz Ahmed before sending a finish into the bottom left corner of the net.
Abahani could not conjure up anything substantial in response and Maziya had to wait until the 87th minute to wrap things up. Captain Abdulla Asadhulla was sent through on goal and he produced a cool finish to ensure all three points.
Johor Darul Ta’zim 4-0 Global FC [Jasuli 30’ Rahim 34’ Ferreira 87’ Antonio 90+2’]
Malaysian side Johor Darul Ta’zim surged back to the top of Group F with a convincing 4-0 thumping of Philippine side Global FC on Tuesday.
Global FC were on a high after winning their initial two group games but were taken aback by Johor who looked eager to put behind a disappointing draw they suffered in the previous round. Mahalli Jasuli broke the deadlock for the Malaysian side in the 30th minute when he received the ball on the edge of the area and fired in a fantastic shot in off the post. Four minutes later Hazwan Bakri was fouled inside the area and Safiq Rahim put away the resultant penalty to send Johor two goals up.
There wasn’t much response from Global FC who found themselves go three behind in the 87th minute when substitute Brian Ferreira did extremely well to surge into the area and calmly finish past the goalkeeper. But Johor were not done yet. In the second minute of injury time, defender Marcos Antonio’s diving header from a freekick added an emphatic touch to the scoreline.
Beoungket Angkor 1-0 Magwe FC [Jean Oulai (OG) 35’]
Cambodian side Beoungket Angkor FC made history with their first ever AFC Cup victory when they outwitted Myanmar’s Magwe FC 1-0 at Phnom Penh on Tuesday.
Beoungket got the go-ahead goal in the 35th minute when Magwe defender Jean Oulai diverted the ball into his own net following Tomoki Muramatsu’s corner. Muramatsu could have extended his side’s lead a couple of time before Magwe substitute Set Phyo Wai was given his marching orders by the referee for a second bookable offence.
The Cambodian side were good value for their win and have leapfrogged their opponents to third spot.
Home United 3-2 Than Quang Ninh [Ui-young 3’, 84’ Ramli 58’ - Tambwe 32’ Tuan 40’]
Singapore’s Home United battled to a thrilling 3-2 win over Than Quang Ninh in three-team Group H on Tuesday.
Song Ui-young put Home United in the lead in the 6th minute when he capitalised on a failed clearance and scored a left-footed effort past the visitors’ goalkeeper. But Than Quang Ninh turned the tables on Home United before the end of the first half. The equaliser came in the 32nd minute Patiyo Tambwe headed home Nghiem Xuan Tu’s cross. Eight minutes later, Vu Minh Tuan went on a run down the left, entered the box and slotted home from a tight angle.
But Home United drew level in the 58th minute when Faris Ramli was picked out by a cross from the right and he couldn’t miss from close range. The game then saw a twist when visitors’ midfielder Hong Quan was sent off in the 75th minute.
Rallying against 10 men, Home United found a dramatic winner in the 84th minute when Ui-young netted his brace with a sensational left-footed volley from outside the box.
The result sees Home United and Than Quang Ninh tied with three points but below Myanmar’s Yadanarbon who have four points.
4.25 SC 6-0 Erchim FC [Yu-song 12’, 22’, 24’, 31’, 59’ Chol-song 77’]
North Korean outfit 4.25 SC started their Group I AFC Cup campaign in spectacular fashion by handing out Mongolian champions Erchim FC a 6-0 battering in Pyongyang. Striker Kim Yu-song was the star of the show as he led the goal glut with an astounding five goals.
Interestingly, this was the AFC Cup debut for both teams but it turned out to be a nightmarish start for Erchim when Yu-song scored the opener in the 12th minute. The striker would go on to complete his hattrick by the 24th minute before adding two more before the hour mark to dismantle Erchim FC.
Second-half substitute Om Chol-song rounded off the scoring with the sixth in the 77th minute to leave a hapless Erchim FC wondering what hit them.