AFC Cup 2018: Efficient Altyn Asyr send Bengaluru FC crashing out
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Having suffered a 2-3 defeat at home, Bengaluru FC needed a two-goal win in Turkmenistan in order to progress to the final...

Bengaluru FC were handed 0-2 defeat in the second leg of the inter-zone semi-final of the 2018 AFC Cup at the Kopetdag Stadium. Second-half strikes from Altymyrat Annadurdyyev (50') and Vahyt Orazsakhedov (59') helped the Turkmen champions to ease past the Indian club into the final with a 5-2 aggregate score. 

Boithang Haokip made way for Harmanjot Khabra who had missed the first leg due to illness. With just the one change to the starting lineup, Carles Cuadrat continued with a 4-4-2 with Sunil Chhetri and Miku leading the line. 

A returning Khabra played on the left side of defence with Rahul Bheke on the other flank. Rino Anto was shifted to the centre to partner Juanan.

Carles Cuadrat would have demanded a fast start to the game from his team but the Blues failed to threaten the Turkmen champions early in the game.

While the Indian club managed to keep the scored level throughout the first half, a disorganized defence left Bengaluru exposed whenever Altyn Asyr were in possession of the ball. 

Altymyrat Annadurdyyev tormented the defence from the left. The playmaking skills of Selim Nurmuradov in the centre prevented Paartalu and Xisco from pulling the strings in midfield. And it was this combination that yielded the first goal for the home team in the 50th minute.

Nurmuradov played a simple pass into the feet of Annadurdyyev who had cut inside from the left and had just Bheke to beat in front of him. The winger dropped his shoulder to take the Bengaluru defender out of the equation and blasted the ball into the net from inside the box. 

The home side doubled their lead through Vahyt Orazsakhedov in the 59th minute. After Mekan Saparov's piledriver struck the upright, the striker pounced on the rebound to send Blues into panic-mode.

Cuadrat replaced a struggling Rino Anto with attacker Kean Lewis on the hour mark but Altyn Asyr's defence left no gaps for the opponents to exploit.

Sunil Chhetri evaded two challenges before getting a shot away from the centre of the box but Mamed Orazmuhamedov's fingertips pushed the ball wide onto the bar.

Altyn Asyr's defenders were at the right places at the right times to block and tackle desperate final attempts by the Blues. The Indian Super League team bid adieu to the continental competition at the final whistle with a 2-5 aggregate defeat. 


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