The AFC Cup 2018 saw some intriguing clashes in the third matchday in the Central, South and East Zone. Here is a look at what transpired this week:
GROUP D (Central Zone):
FC Istiklol 1-0 FC Alay (Fatkhulloev 48')
Tajikistan's FC Istiklol maintained their dominance atop Group D with a 1-0 win over FC Alay on Wednesday.
At Hisor Central Stadium, FC Istiklol were dominant right from start as FC Alay barely held on. However, they could not force an opening and had to wait till the 48th minute to score the opeing goal. Sheriddin Boboev was fouled inside the area and Fatkhulloev stroked the penalty home.
There were many more chances for Istiklol to double their lead but it didn't matter as they claimed all three points to go two points clear at the top. FC Alay are still pointless from three outings.
FC Ahal 0-0 Altyn Asyr FC
In a battle between two Turkmenistan clubs, FC Ahal held Altyn Asyr on Wednesday to a goalless draw that did neither team any favours.
Akmamedov Begench's curled free-kick rattled the crossbar as the home team almost took the lead early on. However, a goal would elude both teams. Altyn Asyr striker Murat Yakshiyev also went close in the second half but just could not force a goal.
The game eventually ended goalless as the points split means Istiklol have gone two points clear in the group.
GROUP E (South Zone):
Aizawl FC 0-3 Abahani Limited Dhaka (Miya 2' Alison 17' Kojima 37')
India's Aizawl FC were put to the sword by Bangladesh's Abahani Limited in a ruthless first half performance that earned them a 3-0 win on Wednesday.
Rubel Miya handed Abahani the lead in the second minute as his deflected effort went in past a hapless Aizawl FC goalkeeper. There was no response from the Indian side as Ndukaku Alison finished off a scrappy effort to double Abahani's lead.
Seiya Kojima made it 3-0 from just inside the area eight minutes before half time as the fate of the match was sealed well before the first half ended. The result means Abahani have notched their first points while Aizawl are bottom of the pile with zero points to their name.
Bengaluru FC 1-0 New Radiant SC (Nishu 90+1')
2016 runners-up Bengaluru FC maintained their perfect record in Group E with a 1-0 win over Maldives' New Radiant SC on Tuesday.
Thongkhosiem Haokip and Harmanjot Khabra went close for Bengaluru in the first half but that goal just wouldn't materialise for them. The Maldives side did not threaten much themselves either.
Just as it looked like the match would end in a draw, Sunil Chhetri was played through on goal by Haokip in injury time. The Blus skipper squared ball for young left-back Nishu Kumar to tap in and secure all three points. New Radiant are now three points behind Bengaluru in second place.
GROUP I (East Zone):
4.25 SC 8-0 Benfica Macau (Yu-song 13', 64', 77', 79' Il-Bom 55', 68' Hyong-Jin 21', 82')
North Korean outfit 4.25 SC romped to the top of Group I with a 8-0 demolition of Macau's Benfica on Tuesday, thanks to a four goal performance from Kim Yu-song.
The striker was on target in the 13th minute before Ri Hyong-jin made it 2-0 in the 21st minute. There was no respite for Macau after half-time as Yu-song ruled the roost. Captain An Il-bom scored in the 5th minute before Yu-song made it 4-0. Il-Bom would again score before Yu-song helped himself to two more goals to make it 7-0.
The final nail in the coffin was struck by Hyong-jin as the game ended 8-0. O Yun-son’s team are now well-placed at the top of Group I.
Hwaepul SC 6-1 Hang Yuen FC (Chung Il 19' Gwon 36' Ting-Yung (OG) 50' Hyok 58' Song 72' Min 88' - Chia-Ming 55')
North Korea's Hwaebul SC scored their first win of the tournament with a 6-1 romp over Chinese Taipei's Hang Yuen FC on Tuesday.
Jon Chung-il opened the scoring for the hosts on 19 minutes, before Ri Yong-gwon added a second in the 36th minute. An own goal helped them boost their lead before Chia-Ming pulled one back for the away side.
But that would only prove to be a consolation as Jong Chol-hyok, Ri Song and Ri Jong-min's goals wrapping up the win.