The AFC Cup 2018 saw teams from Central, South and East Zone qualify for the Inter-Zonal semifinals. Here is a look at what took place this week:
GROUP D (Central Zone) :
FC Istiklol 2-3 Altyn Asyr (Zenko 83' Nazarov 90+1' - Tursunov 1' Babajanov 45+1' Titov 90+7')
Turkmenistan's Altyn Asyr qualified for the Inter-Zonal semifinals after a dramatic 3-2 win away over Tajikistan's FC Istiklol on Wednesday.
Altyn Asyr needed an outright victory and got off to a perfect start when Furkat Tursunov converted a cross from Altymyrat Annadurdyyev in the very first minute. They made it 2-0 at the stroke of half-time when Zafar Babajanov touched home a curled ball from Murat Yakshiyev.
Just as it seemed as if Altyn Asyr would go through, FC Istiklol hit back twice to restore parity late on. Zenko scored in the 83rd minute before Akhtam Nazarov converted a penalty in the first minute of injury time. However, Altyn Asyr desperately searched for a winner and got it in the seventh minute of injury time when Titov seized a rebound and converted to send his team through. Altyn Asyr finished the group on 14 points, one ahead of last year's runners-up.
FC Alay 2-3 FC Ahal (Sylla 17' Mansurov 23' - Annayev 42' Guychmyrat 66' Begench 90+3')
FC Alay fell to a sixth defeat in Group D after FC Ahal beat them 3-2 away on Wednesday.
Both teams had nothing riding on this game and FC Alay scored twice inside the first 25 minutes. Alia Sylla opened the scoring from the penalty spot after Amredin Sharifi was fouled by Annaguliyev Guychmyrat. Five minutes later, they made it 2-0 but FC Ahal were given a lifeline in the 42nd minute. Myrat Annayev converted from the spot to pull a goal back for the visitors.
Guychmyrat then atoned for his earlier error by making it 2-2 in the 66th minute. There was drama at the end as Maksadbek Alimov handled the ball in the area and Ahal were awarded a penalty. Substitute Akmamedov Begench converted the spotkick to win all three points for his team.
GROUP E (South Zone):
Abahani Limited Dhaka 0-4 Bengaluru FC (Segovia 13' Nishu 16', 58' Chhetri 60')
Bengaluru FC progressed to the AFC Cup Inter-Zonal semifinals after winning Group E following their 4-0 thrashing of Abahani Dhaka and the Aizawl's win over New Radiant in the other fixture.
But first, Bengaluru had to win their game and got off to a racing start in the 13th minute. Sunil Chhetri led a quick counter-attack before squaring for Daniel Segovia who tapped in. Three minutes later, Chhetri set up Nishu Kumar to make it 2-0.
Chhetri would once again set up Nishu with a lobbed pass in the 58th minute to make it 3-0 before scoring one himself to hand Abahani a 4-0 thrashing.
Aizawl FC 2-1 New Radiant SC (Dodoz 61' Ionescu 82' - Hassan 85')
India's Aizawl FC did their compatriots Bengaluru FC a favour by defeating Maldives' New Radiant SC 2-1 on Wednesday. The loss meant that New Radiant lost the top spot to Bengaluru FC and were knocked out.
Aizawl FC, who had no chances of progression, held New Radiant at bay in the first half and then took the lead in the 61st minute. Leonce Dodoz fired home from the penalty spot after Andrei Ionescu was fouled inside the area. Aizawl would make it 2-0 soon after through Ionescu after latching on to Renthlei Laldinliana’s long pass.
Striker Ibrahim Atheeq made it 2-1 soon after to give some hope to New Radiant but Aizawl held on to secure victory.
GROUP I (East Zone):
4.25 SC beat Hang Yuen 5-1 to secure progression with a perfect record.
In the second group game, Benfica Macau won 3-0 against Hwaepul SC.