The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup 2017 witnessed the second round of action in Group A and B on Monday, with Al Wahda and Al Jaish taking control of the two West Zone groups already. Here's what transpired on Monday:
Al Suwaiq (OMA) 0-1 Al Jaish (SYR) [Hamdoko 68’]
Syrian club Al Jaish continued on their winning ways after downing Oman’s Al Suwaiq 1-0 at Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat in a Group A encounter.
In a first half, which was largely devoid of chances, the visitors created the one good chance within three minutes when Al Suwaiq goalkeeper Anwar Al Alawi had to deny Zakria Kadoor’s brilliant volley from about 20 yards. After the break, Al Jaish took the lead through Mohammad Hamdoko who scored his second goal of the tournament in the 68th minute.
He met Yousef Kalsa’s corner at the back post to turn the ball in. A jolted Al Suwaiq pushed forward in search of an equaliser and forced a save from Al Jaish custodian Ahmad Madanieh.
But ultimately, the Syrian club held on to go top of Group A with six points from two games.
Al Ahli (JOR) 1-1 Al Zawra’a (IRQ) [Malick 35’ - Abdul Zahra 62’]
Jordan’s Al Ahli were held to a 1-1 draw by Iraq’s Al Zawra’a on Monday in a Group A encounter in Amman. The home team were desperate for a win after suffering a loss in the opening round and started the game well.
It took them only 35 minutes to surge into the lead, courtesy El Hadji Tall Malick who was found by a brilliant ball from the left during a counter. The striker connected a volley first time and it deflected off a defender and ruffled the net. Al Zawra’a tried their best to get a goal back and were rewarded in the 62nd minute when Amjed Kalaf was fouled in the box by Ahmad Al Sughair. Al Azzawi confidently put away the spot-kick to deny Al Ahli their first win in the tournament.
Al Ahli are third in the group with one point while Al Zawra’a are now second with two points.
Air Force Club (IRQ) 2-1 Al Hidd (BHR) [Hammadi Ahmed 62’ Mohsin 70’ - Agba 76’]
Last season’s competition top scorer Hammadi Ahmed was on target as defending champions Air Force Club won their first game of the tournament by defeating Bahrain’s Al Hidd club 2-1 on Monday.
After a barren first half, the game came to life just past the hour mark when Hammadi Ahmed have Air Force Club the lead with a deflected strike from outside the area. Within eight minutes of the first goal, the champions doubled their advantage through Emad Mohsin. A cross from the right wing was headed out to Mohsin on the edge of the area and the second-half substitute took a touch and lashed a finish into the bottom corner.
Six minutes later, Uche Agba gave the Bahrainis some hope when the Nigerian was found inside the box and he made no mistake by slotting home from 6 yards. But it would turn out to be just a consolation as Air Force Club went on to win the game and move up to second in the group with four points.
Al Wahda (SYR) 2-0 Safa SC (LIB) [Fares 28’ Rafe 61’]
Al Wahda took firm control of Group B with consecutive victories after they eased past Safa SC 2-0 on Monday.
The Syrian club took the lead in the 28th minute in sensational fashion when a corner was worked towards Mohammed Fares who was standing outside the box near the ‘D’. He proceeded to strike it first time with his left foot and the ball curled into the top corner, leaving Safa SC shocked.
It was a shock from which they would never recover as the home team dominated proceedings. They struck the cross bar through Wael Ayan’s ferocious strike before getting the cushion of a second goal in the 61st minute through star striker Raja Rafe. After Fares’ cross found him, Rafe saw his initial header saved by Safa’s goalkeeper but he reacted well to poke home the rebound from close range to secure all three points for his side and send them top of the group.