The AFC Cup 2018 is underway, with the West Zone teams through with their first matches. Here is what happened in the tournament this week:
GROUP A (WEST):
Air Force Club 2-2 Al Jazeera (Ahmad 16' Sadir 84' - Al-Taamari 26' Mardikian 88')
Defending champions Air Force Club were held to a 2-2 draw at home by Jordanian side Al Jazeera on Monday, in a game which saw three penalties and two red cards.
Hammadi Ahmad handed Air Force Club the lead with a penalty in the 16th minute after he was brought down by the goalkeeper Abdullah Al Zubi who saw a red card. The roles were reversed ten minutes later as Al Jazeera’s Musa Al Taamari was brought down by Air Force Club goalkeeper Fahad Talib inside the box and the latter received is marching orders. Al Taamari converted the spotkick to restore parity in the game.
Five minutes from time, the Iraqi side thought they had a winner when Salih Sadir's powerful 30-yard drive nestled in the back of the net. But Al Tamaari was fouled again inside the box and Syrian striker Mardik Mardikian converted the penalty to hand his side a share of the spoils.
Malkiya Club 4-1 Al Suwaiq (Hashem 21' Isa 32', 71' Ali Isa 81' - Al-Muqbali 46')
Malkiya had a memorable AFC Cup debut as they downed Al Suwaiq 4-1 at home on Monday.
Sayed Hashem handed Malkiya the lead in the 21st minute by side-footing Gege Soriola’s shot which found its way to him. Hashim Isa doubled the Bahraini side’s lead at the half-hour mark when Israa Hamwiah squared a pass for him.
Abdulaziz Al Muqbali pulled one back for the Omanis in the final minute of the first half but two more goals in the second half - one each from Isa and Sayed Ali Isa - sealed the away team's fate.
GROUP B (WEST):
Al Ahed FC 1-1 Al Zawraa Club (Yakubu 67' - Hadi 4')
Al Ahed and Al Zawraa had no choice but to settle for a point after they played out a 1-1 draw on Monday in their Group B opener.
It was a dream start for the visitors who raced to a lead within four minutes when Safaa Hadi produced a 20-yard drive that found the back of the net. Al Ahed's efforts to get a goal back were rewarded in the 16th minute with a penalty when Ahmed Zreik was fouled in the box by Hussein Jwayed, but Nour Mansour's spot-kick was parried away by goalkeeper Jalal Hassan.
They did get their equaliser in the 67th minute through Issah Yakubu who headed in Hussein Dakik's cross. There was some drama late on as Yakubu was sent off in the 83rd minute for collecting a second yellow card.
But neither side could get a winner from that point on.
Manama Club 0-0 Al Jaish
Bahrain’s Manama and Syria’s Al Jaish were involved in a goalless stalemate in their Group B opener in the AFC Cup 2018 Group stages on Monday.
The Syrians had the best chance of the first half when midfielder Moumen Naji’s left-footed effort from the edge of the area flew just over the cross-bar. Al Amer went agonisingly close for Manama after the re-start but a goal was just not happening.
Despite Manama's Mohamed Al Rohaimi being sent off late on, neither side could force a winner on the night.
GROUP C (WEST):
Al Faisaly 2-2 Al Wahda (Gikiewicz 74' Al-Rawashdeh 82' - Moustafa 7', 80')
Two-time AFC Cup champions Al Faisaly drew their opening game in Group C against Al Wahda on Tuesday.
Al Faisaly defender Anas Bani Yaseen was at fault as striker Bassel Moustafa finished off Burhan Sahyooni’ cross from the left wing in the seventh minute and hand Al Wahda the lead. But Al Faisaly equalised in the second half through Lukasz Gikiewicz who bundled home a loose ball inside the box.
But Al Wahda regained the lead through Moustafa, who applied a first-time finish to a cross from Mohammad Hamadkou from the right wing. But their joy was short-lived as Yousef Al Rawashdeh swept home after Gikiewicz set him up and ensure the teams had a share of the spoils.
Dhofar 0-2 Al Ansar (Chaitou 9' El Baba 91')
Lebanon's Al Ansar registered an important away victory against Dhofar from Oman on Tuesday to open their AFC Cup campaign with a win.
Al Ansar took just nine minutes to take the lead as midfielder Hassan Chaitou stunned the home fans with a powerful left-footed strike from outside the area.
The home side did have a chance to regain the lead in the 15th minute but goalkeeper Rabea El Kakhi saved Motaz Salih's shot.
However, Alaa El Baba popped up with another long-range strike to ensure three points for Al Ansar.
GROUP F (ASEAN):
Ceres Negros 9-0 Boeung Ket (Uesato 15', 22' Maranon 19', 29' Porteria 31', 85' Sovanrithy (OG) 58' de Murga 64' Ott 81')
Ceres Negros of the Philippines got off to a scintillating start in their AFC Cup opener by demolishing Cambodia's Boeung Ket 9-0 at home. The margin of victory equalled the AFC Cup record, held by Uzbekistan's Nasaf Qarshi who beat India's Dempo in a group stage tie in 2011.
Ceres took the lead in the 15th minute when Takumi Uesato finished Mike Ott's cut-back from close range before Bienvenido Maranon made it 2-0 with a header. Uesato found himself back on the scoresheet soon enough by tapping in Jeffrey Christiaens’ cross and Maranon then dinked home a penalty after Ott was brought down by Touch Pancharong.
OJ Porteria scored the fifth for Ceres in the 31st minute by bending a lovely finish into the corner with the outside of his right foot. Sub Sovanrithy gifted Ceres a goal in the second half by inadvertently heading in Patrick Reichelt’s cross from the right into his own net.
Captain Carli de Murga headed in a seventh before setting up Ott for the eighth goal of the night. Porteria then added another goal to round off the scoring on the night.
Shan United 0-1 Home United (Ui-young 75')
Singapore's Home United registered a vital 1-0 win over Myanmar's Shan United in their Group F opener on Tuesday.
It was the home team who looked to be on the front foot in the opening half but they were unable to force an opening as Home United stood tall in defence. Soe Myat Min’s men continued to pepper the goals as the second half wore on as well but a goal eluded them.
However, against the run of play, Home United took the lead in the 75th minute. Faritz Abdul Hameed was sent through on the right flank and he whipped in a cross for Korean Song Ui-young, who bundled the ball home at the second attempt and complete a 'smash-and-grab' win for the Singaporean side.
GROUP G (ASEAN):
Bali United 1-3 Yangon United (Pratama 46' - Uzochukwu 15' Sylla 18', 25')
Sekou Sylla was the hero as Myanmar's Yangon United won their Group G opener against debutants Bali United of Indonesia. It was the visitors who were dominant throughout the opening half and it told on the scoreline.
Yangon surged into the lead in the 15th minute when Emmanuel Uzochukwu sidefooted home Kyaw Khant Min’s low cross from the left. Three minutes later, Sekou Sylla got into the act by heading in Lwin Maung Maung's cross at the far post.
He was not done though. In the 25th minute, Uzochukwu's cutback was expertly finished off by Sylla from 12 yards out. Though Aku Sukadana Pratama pulled a goal back at the start of the second half fopr the Indonesian side, it turned out to be just a consolation goal.
FLC Thanh Hoa 1-0 Global Cebu FC (Omar Faye 74')
Captain Pape Omar Faye handed Vietnam's FLC Thanh Hoa a hard-fought 1-0 win over Philippine's Global FC on Saturday.
In foggy conditions, it was the home team which dominated the game from the word go but needed to wait until the 74th minute to get the goal they desperately sought.
After a short corner routine, Nguyen Xuan Thanh floated a cross to the far post where Omar Faye was left unmarked and he headed past Global custodian Patrick Deyto. The home side then held on to ensure they started their AFC Cup campaign with three points.
GROUP H (ASEAN):
Tampines Rovers FC 0-2 Song Lam Nghe An FC (Phuc Tinh 49', Khac Ngoc 71')
A dominant Song Lam Nghe consigned Singapore's Tampines Rovers to a 2-0 defeat at home in their Group H opener on Saturday.
Song Lam Nghe An’s Nigerian attacker Michael Olaha was a cosntant threat for the home team right from word go as they held on valiantly in the first half. However, the first goal did come eventually at the start of the second half when Khac Ngoc slipped a pass for Phuc Tinh who finished past the goalkeeper expertly.
Khac Ngoc then scored an outrageous goal with a rocket of a strike from outside of the box and seal all three points for his side.
Johor Darul Ta'zim 3-0 Persija Jakarta (Hazwan 29' Diaz 42' Rasid 76')
Malaysia's Johor Darul Ta'zim got off to a scintillating start in the AFC Cup after defeating Indonesia's Persija Jakarta on Wednesday.
Johor were in control of the game right from the start and took a deserved lead just before the half-hour mark. Pereyra Diaz found Azrif Nasrulhaq whose cross was finished off by Hazwan Bakri from close range.
Diaz then jumped the offside trap of the Indonesian side to latch onto Afiq Fazail’s lobbed ball and finish past the goalkeeper to double their lead. In the second half, Pereyra Diaz went on to substitute Safawi Rasid who lashed home a fierce left-footed strike to seal all three points for his side.