Balkanabat: A solitary goal from Serdar Geldiyev steered Altyn Asyr to a 1-0 victory over rivals FC Ahal in Group D action on Matchday Four of the 2018 AFC Cup on Wednesday.
In the battle between two clubs from Turkmenistan, both sides traded early shots on goal that were saved by the respective goalkeepers early in the hard-fought contest.
The lively first half continued until right before the break, when Altyn Asyr were rewarded for a sustained period of pressure as the opened the scoring in the second of three minutes of stoppage time.
After a pin-point cross by Umidjan Astanaov, midfielder Serdar Geldiyev headed home from close range that sent the home crowd at Sport Toplumy into raptures.
Altyn Asyr goalkeeper Mamed Orazmuhamedov was in fine form throughout the match and made a sharp save in the 58th minute to keep his side in front, tipping a rising shot from half-time substitute Abylov Guvanch over the bar.
The fiery nature of the clash was typified just after the hour mark, when both Umidjan Astanaov and Didar Hajiev were given yellow cards within two minutes of each other but as much as they tried, FC Ahal were unable to break the deadlock and the home team recorded a slender victory.
Altyn Asyr’s win sees them well placed on eight points in Group D, two points behind group leaders FC Istiklol. Meanwhile, FC Ahal have it all to play for with two matches left, as they sit on four points and third in the group.
Both Ahal and Altyn Asyr return home on Matchday Five, with the former hosting FC Istiklol and Kyrgyz Republic’s Alay Osh travelling to face the latter.