It was raining goals in the AFC Cup yesterday as all the results went the way that I ‘expertly’ predicted. I’m using inverted commas because I don’t want to start blowing my own trumpet too much yet. Give it a few more weeks. Bengaluru and Altyn Asyr kept their dreams of progression alive with comprehensive wins, in fact, it was a matchday of comprehensive wins as they were twenty-two goals scored in just five games. Impressive.

To aim for a bit of continuity, I’ll run through each match in the same way as I did in the preview. What a genius I am.

Alleged Match-Fixing By Kim Jong-Un

Our story begins in North Korea where 4.25 SC secured their passage to the knockout stages with a game to spare as they saw off compatriots Hwaepul  SC with two goals inside the opening half an hour. An Il-Bom & Kim Yu-Song were the scorers for 4.25.

There’s not much else I can tell you about the game as there aren’t any highlights which makes you wonder if the game actually took place at all? Kim Jong-Un has fixed relations with South Korea recently, but has he got involved in match-fixing? Sorry, ALLEGED match-fixing. I’m not arsed either way because I back 4.25 to win. Cheers, Kim.

Final score: Hwaepul 0-2 4.25.   

Elsewhere in Group I, Hang Yuen are facing the unwanted burden of finishing pointless after taking a thumping from Benfica. Only eleven minutes had gone when Niki Torrao gave Benfica the lead after he was the first to react to a loose ball. It seemed to me that the keeper could’ve and perhaps should’ve got down a bit quicker. That answers why they’re bottom, mind.

It was Benfica’s turn to question their goalkeeper as he came for a ball over the top, didn’t get there in time and there was Chen Ching-Hsuan to head it in the empty net. 1-1 with less than twenty minutes on the clock. Game on.

50p Head, 50p Head, Hello, Hello!

Hang Yuen demonstrated once more why they’re rooted to the foot of the table when Benfica retook the lead five minutes later. It was laughable. A corner was cleared off the line and it seemed the danger had passed. Wrong.

Huang Shih-Yuan went to head the ball further away which was the right thing to do. 50p head was the first thought that came into my head as it came off the back of his noggin and went in. Oh dear.

Surprisingly, there were no more goals until the 77th-minute. Unsurprisingly, it went to Benfica. Poor marking and an excellent finish was the concoction behind Edgar Teixeria’s goal as he placed it in the bottom right-hand corner. 3-1.

It doesn’t get much better for the fourth and final goal either. Niki Torrao got his second of the game as he lost his marker (shock), rounded the keeper and finished with his ease.

Final score: Hang Yuen 1-4 Benfica.

At the same time as the Hang Yuen game, New Radiant hosted Abahani Dhaka in a Group E clash that the away side had to win if they wanted to stay in the competition.

I said before New Radiant’s last group game against Bengaluru that the two danger men within the Maldivian ranks are unquestionably Ali Fasir and Ali Ashfaq, so why aren’t people fucking listening? You’ll see what I mean.

While Abahani had to win, so did New Radiant if they wanted to keep their AFC fate in their own hands. Ali Ashfaq was brought down in the penalty area before the clock had hit twenty minutes which gave Ali Fasir the opportunity to give them the lead from the spot. Prior to this, Abahani had two golden opportunities of their own.

Seiya ‘David Platt’ Kojima – Take A Bow

They were left to rue their wastefulness as Fasir blasted the penalty down the middle to put NRSC in the driving seat. After the interval, Seiya Kojima got the Bangladeshi outfit back into the game with a peach of a goal. The best way I can think to describe it is, picture David Platt’s goal against Belgium. Yes, that goal. What a hit.

You may be thinking that we’d have a game on our hands now. You’d be wrong. ONCE AGAIN, Ali Fasir was set free and finished like a boss beyond the Dhaka goalie. Do these teams not have scouts or something? How can you not know that Fasir and Ashfaq are their two main threats? So annoying.

Fasir got his and NRSC’s third five minutes later in what was a carbon copy of the second. Steam is now coming out of my ears. Fuck off Dhaka. Two minutes after Fasir completed his hattrick, Ashfaq thought he would get in on the act. This was a special goal.

NRSC Put The Pressure On Bengaluru

He picked the ball up in the penalty area on the left, was forced out ever so slightly, cut back in, fooled two defenders and then put it in. Quality of the highest order.

In case you’re wondering, that was NRSC’s third goal in seven minutes. It’s 4-1 if you’ve lost count. Ashfaq got his second and I’ll be honest, I’ve given up. It was another ball over the top, Abahani’s defence couldn’t keep up and he pinged it in the top corner. Another beautiful finish.

Final score: New Radiant 5-1 Abahani Dhaka.       

If you’re a keen reader of this site, you’ll know that in Group D on Tuesday, Istiklol got a narrow win over FC Ahal which put the onus on Altyn Asyr. if you’re not a keen reader of this site, why aren’t you? If it’s something I’ve done or said, I’m not going to apologise, it’s who I am, get over it.

Back on point, Altyn Asyr had to beat pointless FC Alay to keep up their AFC aspirations. They did that with ease. A grand total of seven minutes had been and gone before Mekan Ashrov gave the favourites the lead as he was left completely unmarked at the back post. It was now apparent why BetVictor had them priced as 1/20 pre-game.

Annadurdiyev Loves Playing Against FC Alay

Altymurad Annadurdiyev followed up his previous hattrick against FC Alay with another goal against the Group D whipping boys. It came to him in the penalty area and he put it in the top corner via a deflection with some form of a toe punt. 2-0 at half-time.

Murat Yakshiyev got in on the act fifteen minutes into the second-half as he made it three with a fine finish from the edge of the area. That man again, Yakshiyev, made it four from the spot after Altyn Asyr were awarded an incredibly questionable penalty. If anyone from the AFC is reading this, take a week’s worth of games of the referee, please. Disgusting decision.

Annadurdiyev made it five goals in two games against FC Alay on a personal level and 5-0 to Altyn Asyr on the day as another deflected effort beat the hapless keeper. Thankfully, that goal came in second-half stoppage time and their suffering was over.

Final score: Altyn Asyr 5-0 FC Alay.

Seeing as New Radiant demolished Abahani, Albert Roca’s Bengaluru knew that they had to be Aizawl or face being knocked out the AFC Cup far too early. Chhetri won and scored a penalty while the game was still in its infancy to put Bengaluru into the lead.

It was a daft penalty to give away from Aizawl’s perspective as Chhetri was running the ball out of play. No point worrying about that now as Bengaluru were already one to the good.

Bengaluru Made Sure They Did Their Part

Aizawl were still licking their wounds when Daniel Segovia made it two a minute later. He rolled it past the keeper after being played in by Erik Paartalu. 2-0 to Bengaluru.

Chhetri turned from goalscorer to provider as he broke clear of his defender after a ball over the top; he unselfishly squared to Udanta when he could’ve taken the chance on himself. Udanta couldn’t miss. 3-0. There was still fifteen minutes left in the first-half, someone grab the abacus.

Subhasish delivered a stunning ball into the box which was directed home by Segovia’s head. It was now 4-0. Twenty-eight minutes left to play. Chhetri got another assist to his name when he set up Daniel in the 89th minute with a smart cut-back. 5-0. Game over.

Final score: Bengaluru 5-0 Aizawl.

Some hammerings were given out on this matchday and it’s going to a joy to watch it all again in a few weeks when the final matchday takes place.

The End Is Nigh For The AFC Cup Group Stages

As much as I want Bengaluru to qualify at NRSC’s expense, I can’t see Aizawl doing them any favours at all. Istiklol vs Altyn Asyr is very, very tough to call, nevertheless, we’ll do our best to dissect that and all the other AFC games when they come around.

Until the next time.