Group D: Altyn Asyr FC 1-0 FC Khujand
Ashgabat: Altyn Asyr kept their chances of returning to the AFC Cup's knockout stage alive, recording a crucial 1-0 win over Tajikistan's FC Khujand in Group D at Kopetdag Stadium on Wednesday.
A first half strike from Murat Yakshiyev proved decisive for Yazguly Hojageldiyev's side, who registered their first win of the tournament to move to six points from four matches and leapfrog Khujand into second in Group D.
See also :
Finalists in 2018, Altyn Asyr had been held to three consecutive draws to start this season's group stage campaign, but they immediately set about rectifying that statistic with a near-total dominance of early possession.
Khujand defended in an organised fashion, but the hosts gradually chipped away the challenge in front of them, with Altymyrat Annadurdayyev sending a free-kick narrowly over the crossbar, before having a potentially goal-bound effort block shortly after.
Khujand defended a succession of corner kicks. it was a basic route one football that brought them undone, with Yakshiyev latching onto a long ball before nonchalantly picking out the bottom corner of the net to beat Daviti Kupatadze and make it 1-0 in the 32nd minute.
Altyn Asyr remained in control into the second half, and almost had a second goal when Annandurdyyev cut in to curl a terrific right-footed effort into the upright from 20 yards, before Yakshiyev put the follow-up into the net, only to be denied by the assistant referee's flag after straying well offside.
Superior in the air and on the ground - and barely tested in defence - the home side searched for a goal that would put the three points beyond doubt, but despite several raids led by Myrat Annayev, a second goal didn't materialise.
With their own campaign at a crucial juncture, Khujand pressed for an equaliser themselves, but late efforts from Firdavs Chakalov and Jahongir Ergahsev were well dealt with by Altyn Asyr custodian Mammet Orazmuhammedov, leaving the hosts to celebrate what may yet prove to be a vital win.
Recommended Stories :