Analysis: Manama topple much-changed holders for first-ever win
Manama: Just under four months ago, Al Ahed FC were celebrating their finest hour as the Lebanese side lifted the 2019 AFC Cup after defeating DPR Korea’s 4.25 SC in the final in Kuala Lumpur.
On Monday, the defending champions suffered their first defeat in the competition since May 2018 as Bahrain’s Manama Club proved too good for a side that bore little resemblance to the one that tasted Continental glory to, in turn, pick up their maiden AFC Cup victory.
Isa Town: Isa Al Anezi’s second-half strike was the difference at Khalifa Sports City Stadium as Manama stunned reigning champions Al Ahed FC 1-0 on Matchday Two of the 2020 AFC Cup Group A on Monday.
The two sides had met in the 2018 AFC Cup group stage, and Al Ahed emerged victorious on both occasions but there was not to be a third consecutive victory as Manama Club produced a strong performance.
Dubai: Syria’s Al Wathba earned their second point of the 2020 AFC Cup Group B after holding Kuwait SC to a 0-0 draw at Zabeel Stadium on Matchday Two on Monday.
Having topped the group after defeating Al Ansar FC 1-0 on Matchday One, Kuwait SC came into the game hopeful of hitting six points to establish a comfortable early lead in the race for the knockout stage, but facing them were an Al Wathba side who had held Jordanian powerhouse Al Faisaly to a stalemate in their AFC Cup debut two weeks ago.
Beirut: El Hadji Malick Tall struck at the death to settle a thrilling seven-game encounter at Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium as Al Ansar edged out Al Faisaly 4-3 on Matchday Two of the 2020 AFC Cup Group B on Monday.
The Lebanese side were eyeing their first-ever victory against their visitors, having lost to Al Faisaly on three previous AFC Cup encounters and drawn one.
We had to work hard for the win, said Al Ansar's Abo Alhayl
Beirut: Al Ansar FC head coach Abdulwahab Abo Alhayl hailed his side's resilience after they clinched a last gasp 4-3 win over Al Faisaly in their 2020 AFC Cup Group B tie on Monday.
Al Ansar's Senegalese striker El Hadji Malick Tall scored a brace, including a penalty deep into stoppage time, at Beirut's Sports City Stadium to steer the Lebanese outfit to their first victory, having suffered a 1-0 defeat to Kuwait SC in their opening match.
Jakarta: Ferdinand Sinaga insists that PSM Makassar can rediscover the form that saw them make the AFC Cup knockout rounds last year as the Indonesian side prepare to host Myanmar’s Shan United in Group H on Wednesday.
A new-look Makassar side without the likes of Marc Klok and Eero Markkanen – both key in helping the team reach the 2019 ASEAN Zonal semi-finals – lost 2-1 against Singapore’s Tampines Rovers on Matchday One two weeks ago.
But with a number of the players making their maiden AFC Cup appearances for Makassar, Ferdinand remains optimistic about his side’s prospects in the 2020 campaign.