It’s FC Ahal vs FC Istiklol and Turkmenistan vs Tajikistan is the solitary game that takes place today in the AFC Cup.

FC Istiklol Can Put Themselves In The Driving Seat

Going into this game, which is the penultimate matchday, FC Ahal have nothing to play for due to the way the fixtures have worked out and they can’t get more than ten points meaning they’re already eliminated. Should FC Istiklol get a vital three points in Turkmenistan, it’ll put them very much in the driving seat to progress.

Fatkhullo Fatkhuloev will be the one who looks to cause the damage from the middle of the park as he took his tally to two for the campaign when he opened the scoring against FC Alay last time out in the AFC Cup. In the end, they were lucky to beat the aforementioned FC Alay as they had to rely on a last minute goal from Dilsod Vasijev gave them a 3-2 win.

FC Ahal fell to domestic rivals Altyn Asyr in the last group game which ended their faint hopes of qualifying, saying that, they’ll want to give their fans something to cheer about. Altyn Asyr’s only goal of the game came from Serdar Geldiyev on the stroke of half-time so FC Ahal will be eager to bounce back from that.

FC Ahal’s Hopes Were Dashed Last Time Out

When FC Ahal and FC Istiklol met on the opening day of the group, only a single goal separated them. Istiklol couldn’t manage the goal themselves as it came courtesy of Annaguliyev Guychmyrat who actually plays for FC Ahal.

Yes, in case you’re wondering, it was an own-goal. It’s not easy to separate the two sides as historically, there’s only ever been a goal in it bar a game in 2015 when Istiklol hit Ahal for five.

In terms of the game itself, FC Ahal are currently on a ten game unbeaten run at home which stretches back to November, however, FC Istiklol can go better than that. Much better in fact. They’re unbeaten on the road in a staggering twenty-three games which goes back until September 2016.

All that means is that something has got to give in Turkmenistan later on today (kick-off is 14:00 BST), either that or it’ll be a draw and both runs will continue for another day.

FC Istiklol Could Be Worth A Wager Against FC Ahal

For once, I would say I’ve got no idea which way the game would go, on the other hand, considering FC Ahal can’t progress, all fingers point towards an away win. They’re a very healthy 6/5 to win, so it may well be worth having a little dabble on that.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a match report on this so keep your eyes peeled for that. If it’s 0-0 I wouldn’t blame you for not reading it. I have a feeling we’ll see a 2-1 win for Istiklol. You heard it here first.  

Until the next time.