AFC Cup 2018: Group Stage Matchday Three Review: West Zone

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There were several memorable comebacks in West Zone with the defending champions Air Force Club producing the best of them...

The AFC Cup 2018 witnessed yet another week of exciting action in the West Zone as matchday three came to a close. Here is a recap of what took place this week: 

GROUP A: 


Al Suwaiq 2-3 Al Jazeera (Dieng 33' Al Hajri 41' - Al Arab 43' Tannous 67' Al Tamaari 70')


Jordanian side Al Jazeera came back from being two-goals down to defeat Oman's Al Suwaiq 3-2 away from home on Monday in Group A. 

Abdoulaye Dieng gave the home side a lead in the 33rd minute by converting a penalty and their dream start continued eight minutes later. Khalid Al Hajri, who won the earlier penalty, rose highest to send a header home from Al Nawfali’s cross to make the score 2-0. 

However, Al Jazeera pulle done back immediately when Musa Al Taamari’s in-swinging corner-kick fell inadvertently to Yazan Al Arab at the back post who headed it in. In the 67th minute, they drew level with the home side when Mohammad Tannous unleashed a thunderous left-footed drive from 25 yards out that beat the goalkeeper well and true. Musa Al Taamari then sealed the result three minutes later after converting a penalty that he himself won. 

Al Jazeera are joint top of Group A with Air Force Club, having garnered seven points from three games while Al Suwaiq are yet to register a point. 


Malkiya 3-4 Air Force Club (Albari 8', 9' Hamwiah 14' - Medani 28' Radhi 70', 90+1' Ahmad 79')


Iraq's Air Force Club mounted an amazing comeback to overturn a three-goal deficit against Malkiya club on Monday and go joint-top of Group A. 

The visitors were stunned by Malkiya in a devastating 15 minute period at the start of the first half which saw Isa Al Bari score two in two minutes - one a tap in and the other a tidy finish after capitalising on a poor back pass. Syrian midfielder Israa Hamwia made it 3-0 in the 14th minute from a corner. 

But the defending champions showed their mettle by pulling a goal back before the half-hour mark when Zahir Al Medani swept home Humam Tariq’s cross from a free-kick. In the 70th minute, Amjad Radhi rifled in a half-volley to give them some hope. Nine minutes later, they were level through Hammadi Ahmad who finished off Radhi's square pass. Radhi would then grab a dramatic injury-time winner by getting on the end of Samal Saeed’s through pass and rounding the keeper before slotting it home. 

 

GROUP B: 


Al Ahed 1-1 Al Jaish (Zreik 71' - Al Owied 56')


Lebanon's Al Ahed and Syrian side Al Jaish split points in a Group B clash on Tuesday with a 1-1 draw. 

Al Jaish had the better of the ball in the opening half but they could not force the issue in the attacking third and had to wait until the 56th minute to take the lead. An error from the Lebanese side's defence saw Mohamad Anez cross first time for Hassan Al Owied, who headed in from close range to give Al Jaish the lead. 

But Al Ahed hit back in the 71st minute through Ahmad Zreik who received Hussein Al Zein’s through pass before dribbling past two defenders and sending home a shot with the outside of the left foot. 

The draw sees Al Ahed continue on top of the group with five points while Al Jaish have three points now from three games. 

 

GROUP C:


Al Wahda 2-1 Al Ansar (Moustafa 37' Al Hasan 60' - Tall 12') 


Al Wahda came from behind to record a 2-1 win over Al Ansar at home in Group C on Monday. 

It was the visitors who got off to a good start in Saida International Stadium when El Hadji Malick Tall volleyed home from a corner in the 12th minute. But Al Wahda showed some spunk to equalise in the 37th minute. Striker Bassel Moustafa cut in from the left flank before making his way past two players and fired in a low shot into the bottom right corner. 

Al Wahda would then go ahead in the 60th minute when Mohamad Al Hasan placed a shot past a helpless goalkeeper. The home team held on comfortably for the rest of the match and notched their first win of the campaign and rise to the second spot in the group with five points. 


Al Faisaly 2-0 Dhofar Club (Yaseen 43' Gikiewicz 49')

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Jordanian side tightened their grip on Group C with a 2-0 win over Dhofar Club at home on Monday. 

Al Faisaly were the better side right from the outset though they had to wait until the 43rd minute to get the opening goal. Bani Yaseen rose highest to head home a corner from Alban Meha, much to the joy of the home side. 

Six minutes after the restart, Polish striker Lukasz Gikiewicz doubled their lead to seal the result well and truly. Dhofar remain at the bottom of the group with just one point after the result. 

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