Play-off, 1st leg: Hilal Al Quds Club 0-1 Al Suwaiq
Kuala Lumpur: Oman's Al Suwaiq kicked off what promises to be an enthralling AFC Cup 2018 with a narrow 1-0 win over Hilal Al Quds of Palestine in the first leg of their West Zone play-off on Monday.
Oman international Ali Al Busaidi was the Al Suwaiq hero, with the left-winger striking home the winner for his team in the 26th minute at the Arab American University Stadium in the West Bank.
With the return leg to be played in Muscat next week, Al Suwaiq will be confident of advancing to the next stage of the biggest and best edition of the AFC Cup.
The 2018 season involves a record-breaking 44 clubs competing for the highest-ever prize purse in the history of the competition.
The winners of the 2018 AFC Cup will be rewarded with US$1.5m, up from US$1m in 2017, with the runners-up also receiving an increase from US$500,000 to US$750,000 in 2018.
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The early stage of the 2018 AFC Cup continues on Tuesday with preliminary round ties, with three matches scheduled.
In the South Zone, Saif Sporting Club Limited of Bangladesh will face TC Sports Club of the Maldives while Transport United (Bhutan) will host JSW Bengaluru FC of India. In the Central Zone, Dordoi FC (Kyrgyz Republic) face FC Ahal (Turkmenistan).