This week's action in the AFC Cup has seen Iraq's Air Force Club reach the grand final of the tournament while Tajikistan's FC Istiklol gain a narrow advantage in their quest to reach the same against last year's runners-up Bengaluru FC.
WEST ZONE FINAL - 2nd LEG:
AIR FORCE CLUB 1-0 AL WAHDA [Radhi 90+4']
In what was a dramatic game, a last-gasp goal from Amjed Radhi propelled Air Force Club into the final of the AFC Cup, leaving the Syrian side heartbroken. The tie ended 2-2 on aggregate but Hammadi Ahmed's away goal in the first leg meant the defending champs progressed.
Al Wahda could have negated that advantage had they converted a 10th-minute penalty they received but Mohammed Al Ghabbash's effort was kept out by Air Force Club goalkeeper Fahad Talib. But, it appeared as if Al Wahda were determined not to let the home team score as they absorbed all the pressure that came at them.
Just as it appeared as though the Syrians had done well to preserve the stalemate and secure a spot in the final, Radhi rose highest to head home a cross from Humam Tareq and seal progression in the 4th minute of extra time, dealing a body blow to Al Wahda.
INTER-ZONAL FINAL - 1st LEG:
FC ISTIKLOL 1-0 BENGALURU FC [Barkov 27']
Tajik champions FC Istiklol managed to secure a narrow but crucial win over India's Bengaluru FC in the first leg of the Inter-Zonal final of the AFC Cup on Wednesday. If they manage to hold on to the advantage, they will face Iraq's Air Force Club in the grand final.
Istiklol dominated for long periods of the game and will be disappointed not to have scored more. They had to wait until the 27th minute to score the winner on the night when Dimitri Barkov scored a powerful diving header from Fathullo Fatkhulloev.
Bengaluru FC had their goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu to thank for keeping the scoreline 1-0 with the custodian coming up with several good saves. Manuchehr Dzhalilov also had a goal ruled out for offside in the second half as Bengaluru FC stayed alive in the tie, going into the second leg.