AFC Cup 2018: Group Stage Matchday Two Review: Central, South & East Zones

Bengaluru FC got off to a great start while last year's finalists Istiklol were held to a draw..

Here is a recap of Matchday 2 of the AFC Cup 2018 in the Central, South and East Zone: 

GROUP D (Central Zone): 

Altyn Asyr 2-2 FC Istiklol (Yakshiyev 90' Anndurdyyev 90+3' - Zenko 50' Nazarov 59')

Tajikistan's FC Istiklol were held to a 2-2 draw by Turkmenistan's Altyn Asyr on Wednesday in dramatic fashion. 

After a goalless first half, Istiklol took the lead in the 50th minute when Nikolai Zenko jinked past a couple of challenges and prodded home past the onrushing goalkeeper. Nine minutes later, Sergei Tikhonovski was fouled by Shohrat Soyunov and Akhtam Nazarov scored the penalty as the game looked beyond Altyn Asyr. 

However, the home team would produce an inspired comeback in injury time. Murat Yakshiyev scored one from the edge of the area in the 90th minute before Altymyrat Annadurdyyev completed the remarkable recovery three minutes later with a header from a corner. The result leaves both teams on top of the group with four points. 

FC Ahal 5-0 FC Alay (Muhadov 27', 33' Guvanch 36', 68' Muhammedow 90+2') 

FC Ahal netted their first win of the campaign after demolishing FC Alay 5-0 on Tuesday. 

Suleyman Muhadow gave them the lead in the 27th minute before scoring a second goal six minutes later, tapping in Gurban Annayev's cross. Abylov Guvanch then got into the act by converting a rebound after Annayev’s chip over Abduaziz Mahkamov hit the post. He completed his brace in the 68th minute with a clever finish. 

Substitute Nuryagdy Muhammedow sealed the result with a fifth goal deep into injury time. 


GROUP E (South Zone): 

Bengaluru FC 1-0 Abahani Limited Dhaka (Lalhlimpuia 72')

Bengaluru FC got their Group E campaign off to a winning start, thanks to a 1-0 win over Bangladesh's Abahani Limited on Wednesday. 

Though Abahani had an early chance, Bengaluru slowly grew into the game but their second-string side failed to carve open Abahani until the 72nd minute. 

Alwyn George's cross from the right found Daniel Segovia whose cushioned header set up Daniel Lalhimpuia who finished with aplomb. Bengaluru are second on the table now with three points from one game while Abahani have lost all two. 

New Radiant 3-1 Aizawl FC  (Ashfaq 40', 77', 85' - Hmunmawia 33')

Maldives' New Radiant kept their perfect start to the season going with a 3-1 win over India's Aizawl FC on Wednesday. 

Lalram Hmunmawia tapped home from close range to give the visitors the lead after tapping home a loose ball inside the box. However, the home team mounted a response with Ali Ashfaq equalising in the 40th minute. Ahmed Abdulla’s delivery back into the box was well finished by Ashfaq. 

Hisam Saleem's looping cross from the left was then headed in by Ashfaq to hand New Radiant the lead in the 77th minute. He then went on to complete his hat-trick with an acrobatic finish in the 85th minute. 

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GROUP I (East Zone):

4.25 SC rose to the top of the table after a 5-1 hammering of Chinese Taipei's Hang Yuen while Benfica Macau also got their second win of the campaign with 3-2 win away at Hwaepul SC.