Preliminary Stage: Results & Reports
Bengaluru: 2016 AFC Cup runners-up Bengaluru FC advanced to the South zone play-off after defeating Transport United FC of Bhutan 3-0 in their preliminary round, second leg tie at the Sree Kantereeva Stadium on Tuesday.
Held 0-0 by the Bhutan National League champions in last week's first leg, Bengaluru played with more vigour and were the dominant side in the return leg.
Transport United FC had proven to be a stubborn side in last week's first leg but Bengaluru were a different team at home and their pressure paid off with the opening goal coming in the 27th minute, as Boithang Haokip positioned himself perfectly to rise high and nod home a cross.
A second goal, however, was not to come in the remaining minutes of the first half but Bengaluru kept pressing and widened their lead in the 54th minute as Daniel Lalhlimpuia's effort from 20 yards squeezed past Transport United goalkeeper Hari Gurung.
Thongkhosiem Haokip sidefooted home Bengaluru's third in the 62nd minute to secure their place in the play-off, against Maldives' TC Sports Club on February 13 and 20.
Male: Vlasichev Anatoli was TC Sports Club's hero as his hat-trick steered them to a 3-1 win over Saif Sporting Club of Bangladesh.
The advantage was already with TC Sports Club after they had won the first leg 1-0 and Anatoli doubled his team's lead in the 22nd minute at the National Stadium in Male on Tuesday.
Saif Sporting Club, however, were not about to give up without a fight and drew level 10 minutes later through Kingsley Chigozie.
Neither club made any headway after that until Anatoli turned on a late show, first scoring from the penalty spot in the 84th minute and then completing his hat-trick four minutes later.
Balkanabat: FC Ahal's first leg exploits proved enough for them as they advanced to the play-off stage of the AFC Cup at FC Dordoi's expense at the Sport Toplumy Stadium in Balkanabat on Tuesday.
FC Ahal were held 2-2 by FC Dordoi but having scored a 3-1 win in last week's first leg, the Turkmenistan club were never in any real danger of not advancing.
They took the lead in the 39th minute through Didar Durdyyev's spot-kick but were briefly threatened when Amir Gurbani pulled two back for Kyrgyz Republic side Dordoi in the 56th and 68th minutes.
Order, however, was restored when Suleyman Muhadow scored in the 88th minute.
Ahal advance to a two-leg play-off against Tajikistan's FC Khujand on February 13 and 20, from which the winners will go into Group D of the AFC Cup alongside 2017 runners-up FC Istiklol of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan's Altyn Asyr FC and FC Alay of the Kyrgyz Republic.