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

The AFC Cup 2018 witnessed intense action on Matchday Five in the West Zone. Here is a look at what we saw on the continent:


Al Jazeera 1-1 Air Force Club (Al Essawi 88' - Radhi 90+3') 

Jordan's Al Jazeera assured themselves of a top-two finish in Group A after playing out a 1-1 draw with Iraq's Air Force Club on Tuesday. 

The home team began the tie well and should have had an early lead but it was not to be. However, there was to be drama towards the end of the match. The home fans were sent into raptures in the 88th minute when Ahmed Al Essawi rose highest to head home Mohannad Al Solaiman’s cross from the right wing. 

However, their joy soon died down when the defending champions scored the equaliser late in injury time. Humam Tareq's freekick was headed in by substitute Amjed Radhi to ensure the teams finished level. Air Force Club are now three points shy of Al Jazeera who have played a game more.  

Al Suwaiq 1-2 Malkiya Club (Al Hajri 60' - Isa 12' Hamwiah 89')

Al Suwaiq's woes in the tournament continued after falling to a 1-2 defeat at home to Malkiya Club. The Bahraini club, on the other hand, maintained their bid to qualify from the group. 

The hosts saw an early shot come crashing back off the woodwork and were given a rude shock when Hashim Isa finished off Waleed Abdulrahman’s cross from the right wing to give Malkiya the lead. 

Al Suwaiq had to wait until the 60th minute to equalise, doing so through Khaled Al Hajri after good work by Abdulaziz Al Maqbali. But just when it seemed like Al Suwaiq would open their account in the tournament, Israa Hamwia was brought down inside the box. Hamwiah would go on to finish the spotkick and ensure they drew within two points of second-placed Air Force Club. 


Al Jaish 1-0 Manama Club (Kalaji 45')

Syria's Al Jaish kept their hopes of progressing to the next stage alive after a 1-0 win over bottom-placed Manama Club on Tuesday. 

It was the visitors who were the early aggressors but saw a combination of woodwork and committed defending deny them. Al Jaish slowly grew into the game and took the lead in the 45th minute when as Manama goalkeeper Ashraf Waheed saved Abdulatef Salkeni's shot but it fell to Mohamad Kalaji who finished expertly. 

Manama could not find an equaliser while Al Jaish recorded three important points which took them level with second-placed Al Zawraa who have played a game less. 

Al Zawraa Club 1-1 Al Ahed FC (Ali 82' - Zreik 90+5')

Iraq's Al Zawraa were held to a 1-1 draw by a determined Al Ahed FC on Tuesday in a Group B clash. 

Al Ahed had a couple of good chances early on to take the lead but were unable to do so as Nour Mansour's freekick missed the target by a whisker. Al Zawraa also had chances of their own but were unable to carve out a goal. 

The match took a dramatic twist in the 82nd minute when Al Zawraa roared into the lead through Hussein Ali who converted a spotkick following a foul by Al Ahed's Mehdi Khalil inside the box. However, Al Ahed would find a much-needed equaliser at the very end when Khalil Khamis set up Zreik with a headed pass that the striker nodded in. Both teams remain undefeated so far in the competition. 


Al Wahda 1-2 Al Faisaly (Solaiman 78' - Gikiewicz 48'  Al-Jbarat 90+3')

Al Wahda saw their AFC Cup ambitions come crashing down after a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Al Faisaly on Monday. 

Al Faisaly dominated the first half but were unable to fashion a goal for themselves and had to wait until three minutes after the first half to take the lead. Yousef Al Rawashdeh's cross found Lukasz Gikiewicz inside the box and the Pole planted a strong header in goal. 

But Al Wahda equalised in the 78th minute as Solaiman Solaiman punished an error from Al Faisaly goalkeeper Moataz Yaseen. But there was drama to come as Al Faisaly grabbed the winner in injury time. Al Jbarat's last minute shot nestled in Ibrahim's net as Al Faisaly ensured they would be placed in the top-two.  

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Al Ansar 1-1 Dhofar Club (Krouma 17' - Lopez 15')

Al Ansar remained in the hunt for a place in the next round of the competition after a 1-1 draw with bottom-placed Dhofar Club on Monday. 

Spanish midfielder Hugo Lopez gave the visitors the lead after latching on to a rebound from Vinicius Calamari's blocked shot in the 15th minute. But it took only two minutes for Al Ansar to hit back. 

Abbas Atwi sent a curled cross into the box for Thaer Krouma from a freekick and the latter made no mistake to restore parity. Neither team could find a winner as Al Ansar remained three points behind group leaders Al Faisaly with a round to go.