Matchday Four - Group A: Air Force Club 1-1 Malkiya Club
Karbala: Malkiya kept their hopes of progressing into the 2018 AFC Cup Zonal semi-finals alive with a 1-1 draw against reigning champions Air Force Club in a postponed fixture from Matchday Four on Tuesday.
Air Force came out of the blocks racing but missed three glorious chances within the first 15 minutes. The most clear-cut came when skipper Hammadi Ahmed attempted to finish from close range following Mustafa Mohammed's pass, and beat goalkeeper Abdulkarim Fardan, but watched his strike ricochet off the post.
Three minutes later, Emad Mohsin broke the deadlock with a cute finish from a narrow angle. The winger took advantage of the rebound after Ahmed's header from Humam Tariq's cross was blocked by the defender and composedly finished into the bottom corner.
Hashim Isa and Israa Hamwia were at the heart of everything Malkiya did to restore parity, and indeed the duo combined for the equaliser in the 77th minute.
Isa battled to win back possession inside Air Force Club's penalty area before laying off a pass to Hamwia who struck low for his third goal of the 2018 AFC Cup, earning Malkiya their seventh point.
The result means the Bahraini side now have seven points ahead of Matchday Six's clash with group leaders Al Jazeera who have 11 points. Air Force Club's title defence will now hang on them getting a result in the final matchday against bottom side Al Suwaiq from Oman.