Group F: Nasaf cruise past Alay to kick off AFC Cup campaign in style
Dushanbe: FC Nasaf of Uzbekistan got their 2021 AFC Cup campaign underway with an emphatic 4-0 win over Kyrgyz Republic's FC Alay on Matchday One of Group F on Friday.
The Uzbek side dominated from start to finish, but were unable to find a break in the opening 45 minutes as Shohmalik Komilov and Marko Stanojevic both hit the crossbar from long range.
Alay’s only chance of the first half came against the run of play as Emmanuel Yaghr broke free from Tijani Belaid’s through pass but with just the goalkeeper to beat, he was unable to apply the finish.
Berdiev: Four-goal AFC Cup burst against Alay showed Nasaf’s level
Dushanbe: Four goals in 22 minutes were an accurate guide to Nasaf’s quality according to head coach Ruzikul Berdiev, whose side shrugged off a goalless first half to power to a 4-0 AFC Cup win against FC Alay in their opening Group F clash on Friday.
Appearing in the tournament for the first time since winning it a decade ago, the Uzbek outfit were in command from the opening whistle but took until the 53rd minute to take the lead through substitute Sukhrob Nurulloev.
Nurulloev’s goal proved to be the turning point, with Shohmalik Komilov, Khusain Norchaev and Khusniddin Alikulov all subsequently getting on the scoresheet in a match where Nasaf had 33 shots at goal.
Hojageldiyev confident Altyn Asyr will get better in AFC Cup after draw with Khujand
Dushanbe: Out-of-competition Altyn Asyr will grow in strength as the 2021 AFC Cup goes on according to head coach Yazguly Hojageldiyev, whose side emerged with a 2-2 draw against FC Khujand despite having two players sent off in their Group F opener on Friday.
Playing in their first competitive match in nearly six months, the Turkmenistan title holders suffered a major setback when Berdimyrat Rejebov was shown a straight red card after 17 minutes but managed to avoid defeat thanks largely to a first-half brace from star striker Altymyrat Annadurdyyev.
Having reached half-time level at 2-2, Altyn Asyr had to survive the final few minutes of the clash with just nine men following Mekan Saparov’s second yellow card but managed to avoid defeat against the group hosts.
Returning Ravshan racing to reach AFC Cup pace, says Mirahmadov
Bishkek: Gayratali Mirahmadov said his FC Ravshan side are racing to get up to speed at the top level after the Tajik side lost 3-1 to Turkmenistan’s FC Ahal in their AFC Cup return on Friday.
Absent from continental competition since 2014, and still a second division club in their home country until the end of last season, Ravshan struggled to get to grips with their opponents early, falling behind to a pair of Elman Tagayev goals within the opening 20 minutes.
Half-time substitutions and a Daler Shomurodov penalty got the Kulob club back into the contest after half-time, but Gurban Annayev’s 63rd-minute goal put the contest to bed, meaning Ravshan could be eliminated even before their second and final group stage match next Thursday.
Kuala Lumpur: Nagoya Grampus and Australia goalkeeper Mitch Langerak has announced his retirement from international football just weeks before the Socceroos are due to return to action in the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023.
The 32-year-old former Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper revealed he was quitting the international scene due to family commitments and the challenges created by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.