The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup 2017 saw eight fixtures including a couple of play-offs take place on Tuesday.
Several interesting results were witnessed in a round that saw seasoned campaigners AL Muharraq shocked by Saham SC in a five-goal thriller while Johor Darul Ta'zim started off with an easy victory. Here are the results from Tuesday:
SOUTH ZONE PLAYOFF FIRST LEG
Indian side Mohun Bagan grabbed a vital away goal advantage in the first leg of their South Zone playoff against Maldives FA Cup winners Club Valencia after a 1-1 draw at Male.
The away side raced into a lead in the fifth minute when Prabir Das embarked on a darting run down the right wing and whipped in a cross that was turned in from close range by Bagan’s Scottish striker Duffy.
Though Mohun Bagan were the dominant side, Club Valencia were gifted a chance to equalise after Subhasish Bose handled the ball in the penalty box. Omodu stepped up and buried the shot, giving Shilton Paul no chance at all to make it 1-1.
The match ended in a stalemate but Mohun Bagan have a vital away goal to show for their efforts. The second leg is on 28th February in Kolkata.
CENTRAL ZONE PLAYOFF FIRST LEG
FC Dordoi (KGZ) 1-0 FC Hosilot (TAJ) [Azizov 54']
Kyrgyz Republic’s FC Dordoi got a slender lead in their first leg of the Central Zone playoff against FC Hosilot of Tajikistan after a 1-0 win at home.
FC Hosilot suffered a huge blow when their Ghanaian defender Sadik Musah was dismissed for a second bookable offence in the 34th minute.
The only goal of the game came nine minutes after the break, courtesy of Uzbek midfielder Alisher Azizov who turned in a low cross from the left from point blank range to net his side a slender advantage, going into the second leg in Tajikistan on 28th February.
Al Wehdat (JOR) 1-0 Nejmeh (LEB) [Abu Amara 63’]
The Jordanian champions Al Wehdat got its Group C campaign up and running with a narrow win over Lebanese side Nejmeh, courtesy a second half goal from Munther Abu Amara in Amman.
After a barren first half, which saw no clear cut chances, the tie was decided by a sensational individual goal just past the hour mark by Munther Abu Amara who received the ball just inside the Nejmeh half, galloped forward and drilled a low shot into the far corner from about 25 yards out.
Ahmed Wridat missed a big chance in the 80th minute when he failed to find the net despite being left with just the goalkeeper to beat. But the Jordanians held out to notch all three points.
Saham (OMA) 3-2 Al Muharraq (BAH) [Al Jabri 32’ Jouhar 44’ Al Ghassani 88’ - Nelson 10’ Yaser 51’]
Oman-based side Saham defeated Bahrain’s AL Muharraq club in a five-goal thriller in Muscat in their Group C opener.
Saham were only making their second AFC Cup group stage appearance and it was the visitors AL Muharraq who started well. Their Dutch striker Gregory Nelson expertly finished a cut back to give the Bahrain team the lead in the 10th minute. But Badar Al Jabri equalised for the home team after the goalkeeper parried a speculative effort from distance onto Al Jabri’s feet who easily directed it in. A minute before half-time, a left-footed effort from distance by Mohsin Jouhar saw the goalkeeper stand and watch as the ball ruffled the bottom corner, giving Saham the lead.
But, Al Muharraq looked to have salvaged a point in the 51st minute after the referee awarded them a penalty for handball which was converted by Abdulla Yaser. Nonetheless, there was a twist in the tale when Mohammed Al Ghassani got on the end of a scuffed shot from Al Shibli and tapped home to win the home side all three points and go joint top of Group C.
Johor Darul Ta’zim (MAS) 3-0 Beoungket Angkor (CAM) [Guerra 3’, Mansor 11’, Rahim 89’]
The 2015 AFC Cup winners got their Group F campaign off to a cracking start by pummelling Cambodia’s Beoungket Angkor 3-0 in Johor Baru, Malaysia.
Johor’s 23-year-old Argentine striker Gabriel Guerra gave them the lead in the third minute when he capitalised on a loose ball inside the penalty box and slammed a left-footed effort into the top corner. Eight minutes, later Johor doubled their lead through Nazmi Faiz Mansor who sidefooted a precise cross from Kunanlan past a helpless goalkeeper.
The Malaysian side maintained control of the tie throughout and added some gloss late on when Safiq Rahim headed in Cabrera’s chipped pass from the byline.
Global FC (PHI) 1-0 Magwe FC (MYA) [Bahadoran 39’]
Philippine champions Global FC were always the fancied side against Myanmar’s Magwe FC who are making their inaugural continental appearance and all they required was a first half strike from captain Misagh Bahadoran to nab all three points in Manila.
After a very slow start, Global FC got the lead, and what proved to be the winner, in the 39th minute when Bahadoran controlled a fine cross from Matthew Hartmann and poked a finish past the Magwe custodian.
Though Global FC had chances to increase the lead, the side from Myanmar managed to hold them off and finish with a narrow 1-0 defeat on their continental bow.
Tampines Rovers (SIN) 2-1 Felda United (MAS) [Yong-Chan 64’ Amri 83’ - Hazli 86’]
Singapore-based Tampines Rovers, a quarter-finalist last season, got the better of Malaysian side Felda United 2-1 in their Group G opener at the Jalan Besar stadium in Singapore.
Malaysian league runners-up Felda United, making their first ever AFC Cup appearance, were under the cosh from the outset as The Stags dominated the game. But they had to wait until the 64th minute to get the ball rolling when Son Yong-Chan placed a header into the bottom corner after meeting Raspreet Sandhu’s pinpoint cross from the left wing.
Ryutaro Megumi then broke forward on a brilliant run down the right and centred a pass for Khairul Amri to make it 2-0 for Tampines Rovers in the 83rd minute before Felda got themselves a consolation.
Fazrul Hazli won a ball from about 30 yards and unleashed a spectacular volley that caught the Tampines Rovers’ goalkeeper off his line but that goal did not affect the result.
Hanoi FC (VIE) 1-1 Ceres Negros (PHI) [Quyet 57’ - Maranon 49’]
Vietnam’s Hanoi FC had a superb goal from Nguyen Van Quyet to thank for as they opened their Group G campaign with a 1-1 draw against Ceres Negros in Hanoi.
After a goalless first half, the match crackled into action at the start of the second half. Ceres nabbed the lead just four minutes into the second half when forward Bienvenido Maranon tapped in a rebound after Manuel Herrera’s header was parried by Hanoi goalkeeper Phi Minh Long.
But their joy lasted all of eight minutes when Van Quyen scored a sensational equaliser for the Vietnamese side. He teed himself up after a ball broke to him in the penalty box and sent an acrobatic scissor-kick into the top corner to leave Ceres shell-shocked.