Matchday Three - Group D: FC Istiklol 1-0 FC Alay
Hisor: Fatkhullo Fatkhulloev's second half penalty saw two-time runners-up FC Istiklol of Tajikistan continue their unbeaten 2018 AFC Cup campaign on Wednesday with a 1-0 victory over Kyrgyz Republic's FC Alay.
In a dominant first-half display at Hisor Central Stadium, the hosts peppered the Alay goal with efforts but were unable to break the deadlock. Striker Nikolai Zenko in particular saw golden opportunities slip by in a frustrating half of football.
However, shortly after the break the game's only goal came. A foul on fellow forward Sheriddin Boboev inside the penalty area brought the chance to open the scoring from the spot, with Fatkhulloev calmly stroking the ball home.
Despite numerous chances to extend their lead in the second half, it was Alay striker Amredin Sharifi who came closest to finding the back of the net as his powerful effort rippled the side-netting. However, close as it was, he was not to deny Istiklol victory.
The result leaves Istiklol top of Group D with seven points from their opening three group stage fixtures. Alay remain bottom with no points to their name.
The two sides meet again in a fortnight's time in Osh with Istiklol looking to take a further step towards the knockout stage, and Alay to kickstart their AFC Cup campaign.