The Group stage of the 2017 AFC Cup has come to a close in the ASEAN ZONE on Wednesday. Some clubs have progressed to the zonal playoffs while others in the South, Central and East Zones still battle for supremacy. Let's take a closer look at what transpired on Wednesday:-
ALTYN ASYR 3-0 DORDOI FC [Annadurdyyev 14' Amanov 17', 35']
Altyn Asyr kept pace with Istiqlol FC atop Group D after cruising to a 3-0 win over Kyrgyz Republic's Dordoi FC on Wednesday.
Altymurad Annadurayev gave the home team an early lead in the 14th minute when he met an inswinging well and directed a header past the Dordoi goalkeeper. Three minutes later, Altyn Asyr were awarded a penalty after the Dordoi GK felled Suleyman Muhadov inside the area. Arslanmurat Amanov duly dispatched the penalty to make the scoreline read 2-0. In the 35th minute, Altyn Asyr were awarded another penalty when Amanov himself was brought down. The winger went on to score his second penalty and sealed the game 3-0 for the home side.
The result leaves Altyn Asyr on 10 points from four games, the same tally as that of Istiqlol FC.
FC ALAY 1-4 FC ISTIKLOL [Abdurrahmanov 88' - Dzhalilov 32', 39' Vasiev 78' 82']
Quickfire braces from Manuchekhr Dzhalilov and Dilshod Vasiev ensured Tajikistan's FC Istiqlol maintained their top spot in Group D, albeit via head-to-head record over Altyn Asyr, as they condemned FC Alay to a 1-4 defeat on Wednesday.
Dzhalilov opened the scoring in the 32nd minute after he was sent through on goal and saw his attempted shot bounce into the goal off the goalkeeper. Seven minutes later, he celebrated his brace after tapping into the goal, following brilliant work from Dmitri Barkov who rounded the goalkeeper and held off a couple of defenders before squaring the ball for the former. In the second half, it was Vasiev's chance to help himself to a brace. First, a penalty in the 78th minute and the second a tap in four minutes later, following good work from David Mawutor.
Though Odiljon Abdurahmanov got FC Alay a consolation, it was a scant relief for the Kyrgyz Republic side who have been eliminated.
ABAHANI LTD DHAKA 2-0 BENGALURU FC [Uddin 87' Miya 90+2']
2016 finalists Bengaluru FC were given a rude awakening in Group D by bottom-placed Abahani Ltd Dhaka who ambushed them 2-0 in Dhaka to secure their first points of the season.
It was Bengaluru who had the upper hand throughout the tie in Bangladesh but their profligacy in front of goal meant that the lead eluded them. As the game was winding down, the Indian side were given a chance to press home their dominance when Abahani's Nasiruddin Chowdhury was sent off for a handball, which was his second bookable offence in the 80th minute. But Abahani hit Bengaluru FC on the counter and scored a goal in the 87th minute when he slid in to guide Jonathan Brown's cross into the net after a swift counter.
As Bengaluru FC threw men forward to grab an equaliser, Abahani grabbed the second with a classic sucker punch. Bengaluru goalkeeper Amrinder Singh had come out to the centre circle to clear a ball but went down after a challenge and Rubel Miya obliged the home fans by finding the unmanned net from 40 yards. The result meant Maziya S&RC have caught up with Bengaluru atop the group with nine points each. Abahani and Mohun Bagan are on three points each.
MAZIYA S&R 5-2 MOHUN BAGAN [Habeeb 13' Umair 27' Rakic 45', 60' Asadhulla 54' - Debnath 48' Jeje 78']
Maldives' Maziya Sports & Recreation Club hammered India's Mohun Bagan 5-2 at home to draw level with Bengaluru FC atop Group E.
The home team were all over Mohun Bagan as they raced to a 3-0 lead before half-time. Yasfaadh Habeeb scored the opener in the 13th minute when Bagan failed to deal with a deflected attempt and the ball fell kindly to Habeeb who hammered it home from close-range. Mohamed Umair made it 2-0 shortly afterwards when he stabbed home Abdulla Asadhulla's cutback after fantastic work down the left wing by the Maziya number nine. Aleksandar Rakic made it three just before half-time with an angled drive from inside the area.
Mohun Bagan pulled one back right after the restart as Kingshuk Debnath tapped in after a corner was not dealt properly. However, Asadhulla scored Maziya's fourth goal six minutes later from the penalty spot before Rakic saw a speculative half-volley from outside the area squirm under goalkeeper Pawan Kumar. Though Jeje Lalpekhlua got another consolation for Bagan after a handball inside the Maziya box, it did nothing to change the result.
Maziya are now level with Bengaluru on points while Mohun Bagan have only three points from four games now.
JOHOR DARUL TA'ZIM 3-1 MAGWE FC [Guerra 15', 59', 79' - Swar 3']
Malaysian heavyweights Johor Darul Ta'zim qualified for the ASEAN zone semifinals as the best second-placed team after defeating Myanmar's Magwe FC 3-1 at home on Wednesday, courtesy a marvellous hattrick from Argentine striker Gabriel Guerra.
Magwe, who were already eliminated, coasted to a surprise lead in the third minute when centre-back Linn Kyaw Swar guided a deep freekick into the box past the onrushing Johor goalkeeper. However, Johor hit back soon enough through Guerra who picked the ball up in midfield before sending a stunning strike from 25 yards into the top corner. Guerra then gave his the lead just before the hour mark when he placed a header from Safiq Rahim's chipped cross perfectly past the Magwe goalkeeper.
He would go on to secure his hattrick from the penalty spot after Rahim was fouled inside the box by Kyaw Swar as Johor confirmed their spot in the next stage despite Global FC securing the top spot in the group.
GLOBAL FC 3-1 BEOUNGKET ANGKOR [Mulders 12' Minegishi 28' Roberts 90+4' - Rosib 50']
Philippine side Global FC booked their spot in the AFC Cup ASEAN Zone semifinals after a 3-1 win over Beoungket Angkor ensured they finished top of Group F.
Global FC were always likely to dominate this encounter and unsurprisingly took the lead through Paul Mulders who sensationally sidefooted home a volley from Paolo Salenga's cross into the box in the 12th minute. Hikaru Minegishi would go on to double the advantage just before the half-hour mark after he received a ball inside the box from Shu Sasaki and arrowed a left-footed finish into the far corner.
The Cambodian side answered after the breakthrough Sath Rosib who saw his glancing header from a freekick on the right wing loop over the Global FC goalkeeper. However, it was not enough to unnerve Global FC who secured the points through Darryl Roberts' injury-time goal and finished atop the group with 15 points while second-placed Johor Darul Ta'zim had 13.
TAMPINES ROVERS 2-4 CERES NEGROS [Hanapi 25', 60' - Maranon 6', 23' Fernando 45' Kawase 66']
Philippine side Ceres Negros made it to the ASEAN Zone semifinals after getting the better of Singapore's Tampines Rovers 4-2 away on Wednesday.
Bienvenido Maranon continued his sensational goalscoring form for Ceres and pulled them into a lead as early as in the sixth minute, heading home Jose Porteria’s perfectly weighted cross. He added his second after a poor piece of defending set Ceres on a fast break and Maranon was left with the simple task of tapping the ball in. But Tampines Rovers pulled one back almost immediately - Yasir Hanapi firing home from the edge of the box. Just before half-time, Fernando made it 3-1 for Ceres Negros by converting a penalty awarded for a handball. This was after Tampines Rovers' Shakir Hamzah was sent off for a dangerous challenge.
Hanapi reduced the deficit once again for Tampines Rovers from the spot after a foul inside the box. However, Ceres defender Kota Kawase sealed the result and Ceres' progression with a towering header from a corner in the 66th minute. Though Ceres finished level on points with Hanoi FC atop the group, the Philippine side had the better head-to-head record.
HANOI FC 4-1 FELDA UTD [Duc Huy 52' Van Quyet 76', 86' Hung Dung 90' - Cellerino 90+4']
Vietnamese side Hanoi FC were unable to progress to the ASEAN zone semifinals despite defeating Malaysia's Felda United 4-1 on Wednesday which saw them finish the group stages with 11 points.
The first half was goalless and the match exploded into action in the second. Pham Duc Huy opened the scoring in the 52nd minute with a screamer of a shot from 30 yards before Nguyen van Quyet doubled the advantage with a freekick in the 76th minute. Ten minutes later, he had his brace after turning smartly inside the penalty box and lashing a finish home. Do Hung Dung scored Hanoi's fourth in the 90th minute with a shot from the edge of the area before Gaston Cellerino for Felda's consolation from the penalty spot.
Despite the win, Ceres Negros' win in the other Group G game meant Hanoi were knocked out of the tournament while Felda United finish third.
KIGWANCHA SC 2-2 4.25 SC [Kwang-hyok 35' Un-Il 61' - Il-Bom 70' Yu-song 90+8']
The three-team Group I remained open after the group leaders, Kigwancha SC and 4.25 SC played out a 2-2 draw at Pyongyang on Wednesday.
Both teams had four points from two games each and this was a crucial opportunity to gain control of the group for both teams. It was the home team who started well and took the lead in the 35th minute through forward Rim Kwang-hyok before substitute Ri Un-il doubled their advantage just past the hour mark. However, there was drama at the end as 4.25 SC mounted a spirited fightback and got a goal back in the 70th minute through captain An Il-bom. Their bid to get a point seemed to have been thwarted in the fourth minute of injury time when defender An Song-il was sent off.
But Kim Yu-song scored a dramatic equaliser in the eighth minute of injury time to ensure both teams are locked at five points each after three games.