AFC Cup 2016 MD1 review(FK Istiklol, Altyn Asyr)

FK Istiklol vs Al Faisaly

Last year´s finalist FK Istiklol couldn´t start well their campaign in the competition after they got a 0-0 draw vs former competition winners Al Faisaly

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Altyn Asyr vs Al Ahed

2016 Turkmenistan league and cup champions Altyn Asyr made an historic start to their campaign in the competition after they won 2-0 vs Lebanese champions Al Ahed.

The 1-0 came with an own goal from Al Ahed defender Nour Mansour, a total blopper and experienced player Amir Gurbani scored the 2nd goal came after another blopper from Nour Mansour who lost the ball and Amir Gurbani did a powerful shot to seal a magnific victory for the Turkmen side.

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ACL2016 MD1 review(Uzbek clubs) , Urawa Reds vs Sydney

Lokomotiv Tashkent 1-1 Al Ittihad

Lokomotiv rescued a poin in the last minutes of the match and also this match served as the comeback of Server Djeparov in the competition.

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Al Nassr 3-3 Bunyodkor

As it happened in the 1st match from the last season, Bunyodkor was winning comfortable but then Al Nassr started to full back until they found the equalizer few minutes before the match ends, another draw between both teams.

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Pakhtakor 2-2 Al Hilal

In a very exciting and interesting match Pakhtakor with fighting spirit saved a point in the last minutes of the match after Khashimov found the equalizer minutes before the final whistle.

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Al Alhi Jeddah 2-1 Nasaf

Nasa fought with everything to rescue a point vs Al Alhi but couldn´t hold the draw for more and they succumbed to the power of the Saudi club.

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Urawa Red Diamonds vs Sydney FC

Urawa Reds started in perfect style their ACL campaign after winning 2-0 vs Sydney

Both teams face each other for the 1st time 9 years ago and in both matches they drew but this time Urawa prevailed and returned to the winning ways at home against an Australian team, last year they lose vs another Australian team(Brisbane Roar)

After the 0-0 from reigning champions Guangzhou Evergrande vs Pohang Stellers, Urawa are placed as the unique leaders of their group.

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Melbourne Victory vs Shanghai SIPG

Melbourne Victory opened their ACL campaign in a great way after winning to the Chinese debutants 2-1, Ingham and Berisha scored the goals for the Australian side who displayed a great playing level at the Melbourne Rectangular stadium.

After the 0-0 draw from Suwon vs Gamba, Melbourne Victory are placed as sole leaders of group G.

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AFC Cup 2016 Group Stage preview

Altyn Asyr, Kaya, Ceres, Alhi Al Khaleel and Sheikh Jamal will make their maiden debut in the group stage while Istiklol are aiming to reach a 2nd consecutive final.

Istiklol face an interesting grou vs former winner Al Faisaly from Jordan, Naft Al Wehdat and Tripolibut the Tajiks have the experience and the team to progress beyond the group stage leaded by Mubin Ergashev.

Altyn Asyr becomes the 2nd club from Turkmenistan to compete in the group stage after Ahal debut last year, Altyn Asyr featured in the AFC Cup playoff stage but were eliminated by Al Saqr from Yemen, this time they have a tough group with Al Ahed and Al Wehdat who were eliminated in the ACL playoffs vs Al Ittihad Jeddah.

Sheikh Jamal earned their place in this stage thanks to winning the qualifying playoff back in August and they are placed vs Tampines Rovers who were eliminated vs Mohun Bagan in the ACL qualifying round, Selangor who are back since their last participation in 2014 and which in 2006 reached the quarterfinals.

Ceres previous appearance in Asian competition was in 2014 when they played the now defunct AFC President´s Cup group stage, group B and last year they played the AFC Cup qualifying playoff, they will meet other debutant like Sheikh Jamal.

Kaya from Philippines are placed with strong rivals as Kitchee and New Radiant, former semifinalists in this competition and Balesthier Khalsa who made their debut last year too.

AFC Cup action is back in Bangladesh after a decade of absence, the last 2 clubs from Bangladesh who played in this competition were Mohammedan and Brothers Union.

This year is historic because it will feature 2 clubs from Palestine, since Palestinian clubs entered the competition in 2014, only 1 Palestinian club was present in the group stage, also its historic for Laos because of the participation of Lao Toyota who made their debut last year.

ACL2016 Uzbek teams preview(Bunyodkor, Nasaf)

Group A

This group is almost the same as last year´s group A, Lekhwiya, Bunyodkor and Al Nassr meets again in this group and it will be one of the most interesting groups of this edition, the other club involved is Zob Ahan which makes this group one of the most hardest.

Bunyodkor ended last in their group last year with only 1 point, but this time they are aiming to battle for a spot in the Round of 16, they have a mixed team with experienced and young players, former star Sardor Rashidov plays now in El Jaish from Qatar and they have a new player in their squad, Aleksandar Alempijević from Serbia.

Group D

Nasaf, the  current surprise in Uzbekistan after winning the Uzbek Supercup last February 17th vs Pakhtakor 1-0 is placed in a very difficult group with Al Ain, Al Ahli Jeddah and El Jaish.

Nasaf won the Uzbekistan Cup last year and also finished 3rd in the Uzbek League table.

Nasaf will play again vs Al Alhi, last year they lose 2-1 in Saudi Arabia and drew 0-0 in Uzbekistan.

Nasaf played against another Al Alhi last year, this was from UAE and Nasaf drew 0-0 and in Tashkent they lose 1-0.

El Jaish count with Uzbek international and former Bunyodkor player Sardor Rashidov.

Al Ain reached the round of 16 last year but were eliminated by future finalists Al Alhi UAE on goal difference.


ACL2016 Group A preview (Al Ittihad, Lokomotiv, Sepahan, Al Nasr)

The group of death in my opinion because the high level of the teams involved, Sepahan and Al Ittihad are the favorites to qualify for the next stage and then comes Lokomotiv Tashkent who wants to improve because in their debut season in the group stage last year they ended last with 4 points.

Sepahan returns to the competition after 2 years of absence in which they couldn´t past beyond the group stage being placed in a tough group in that edition.

Al Ittihad are back in the big scene after 2 years of absence and they want to relive their glory days, they earned their place in the group stage after winning 2-1 vs Al Wehdat from Jordan. the last time they participated they reached the quarterfinals only being eliminated by Al Ain.

For Lokomotiv Tashkent this is their 2nd participation in a row in the competition and as it happened last year, they were the revelation of the Uzbek League last year but this year they will face difficult and very experienced opponents, they count with a very experienced squad like Ignatiy Nesterov, Timur Kapadze, Marat Bikmaev, Jasur Hasanov.

Al Nasr SC from Dubai last participation was in 2013, they qualified for this edition as the 2014-15 UAE President´s Cup winner and this year they will play again vs Lokomotiv, in 2013 both teams played in the playoff stage where the UAE club emerged as victors. when they played in the group stage they only got 1 point from their draw vs Al Alhi Jeddah.


ACL2016 Group C preview (Al Hilal, Pakhtakor, Al Jazira, Tractorsazi Tabriz)

Its an interesting club where Al Hilal is without doubt the favorites to win the group and also candidates for the title and where they will meet Pakhtakor again.

Pakhtakor are the other favorites in this group to qualify for the next stage and leaded by the Uzbek international Igor Sergeev they aim to past the group stage, they count with a balanced squad with many experienced and young players and they haven´t qualified for the Round of 16 since 2009

This is the 3rd time in a row that Tractorsazi plays the ACL but they haven´t past beyond the group stage, in their previous campaigns ended last in their group and now this year they want to change that and fight to qualify for the group stage but they know that they are in a difficult group and they main opponents to defeat are Al Hilal

Al Jazira comes to this stage after winning in the playoff stage on penalties to Al Sadd from Qatar.


ACL 2016 Group H preview (Guangzhou Evergrande, Urawa Reds, Pohang Steleers, Sydney FC)

Match background

Defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande are placed with Korean heavyweights Pohang Steelers, 2007 ACL champions Urawa Red Diamonds from Japan and Sydney FC from Australia who returns to the competition after 5 years of absence.

Guanghou Evergrande are looking to defend successfully their title and they aim t win it for the 2nd year in a row and a 3rd in total but they must play in a difficult group vs Pohang, Urawa and Sydney, their main stars Elkeson and Dario Conca have gone to Shanghai SIPG who will also play ACL.

Guangzhou Evergrande keeps most of the players that won the ACL title last year, they have added into their ranks the experienced Colombian forward Jackson Martinez.

Urawa Reds will be looking to improve what they did from their irregular campaign last year in whih they only got 4 points, they know it won´t be an easy group but they are going to find some inspiration from their glory days in 2007 to past the group stage and reach the final stages. They conserve almost the same team from last year but their have added Slovenian international Branko Ilic who comes from Kazakh champions FC Astana.

Pohang comes from winning Hanoi in the playoff stage and they are serious contenders to past the group stage and even to win the title too.

Sydney FC will be looking to improve what they did the last time they have played ACL, in their 2 times they played this competition they haven´t gone beyond the group stage and they are aiming to do that having a team with many experienced players like David Carney who will play the ACL campaign for the 2nd time with the Sky Blues and young and talented players Robert Stambolziev.


ACL2016 Playoffs East Asia results, In West Asia Bunyodkor qualified for the Group Stage

acl2016 playoff results

FC Tokyo 9-0 Chonburi

FC Tokyo thrashed Chonburi without mercy, The Japanese club won it easily against a very weak display from the Thai club, FC Tokyo could even score much more goals too.

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Shanghai SIPG 3-0 Muangthong United

A new Chinese club will take part in the competition, its the 2nd time that a Chinese debutant wins a playoff stage, last year Guangzhou R&F did the same.

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Pohang Steelers 3-0 Hanoi T&T

Pohang won an easy match against a Vietnamese club that didn´t show opposition, for Hanoi its the 2nd time in a row that they lose vs a Korean club, last year they lose 7-0 vs FC Seoul.

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Adelaide United 1-2 Shandong Luneng

Adelaide missed penalty cost them the ticket to the group stage, Shandong displayed a good playing style and seal ther ticket to the group stage.


FC Bunyodkor 2-0 Al Shabab

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A double from Eldor Shomurodov gave the Uzbeks the ticket to the group stage, its the 2nd time in a row that Bunyodkor wins a playoff stage vs an UAE club, last year was vs Al Jazira 3-0.

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ACL2016 Playoffs Est Asia and Bunyodkor vs Al Shabab

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The road to the ACL continues with the last step before entering the group stage, many experienced and some debutant teams are aiming to qualify for the next stage.

Bunyodkor vs Al Shabab

Venue: Bunyodkor Stadium, Tashkent

Its the 2nd time Shabab feature in the ACL playoff, in 2013 they won their playoff tie vs Saba Qom from Iran on penalties.

Its the 2nd time both teams face each other, in 2009 Bunyodkor and Al Shabab played each other in the group stage, in the match played in UAE, Al Shaba won 2-0 and in Tashkent the match ended 0-0.

Al Shabab previous encounter vs an Uzbek club in the playoff stage was in 2012 vs Neftchi Fergana so its the 2nd time that they are playing vs an Uzbek club in the same stage(Playoffs).

Bunyodkor previous encounter vs an UAE club was vs Al Jazira last year in which the Uzbeks emerged victorious 3-0.

The winner of this match will play in Group B.


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Pohang Steelers vs Hanoi T&T

Venue: Pohang Steelyard, Pohang

Match background

Its the 1st time that both clubs face each other
Its the 3rd time that Pohang plays vs a Vietnamese club at AFC Competitions
2013 semifinalists want to be again in the group stage, last year they were eliminated by eventual winners Western Sydney Wanderers
Its the 2nd time in a row that Hanoi play at ACL playoffs, last year they lose in this same stage vs FC Seoul.

FC Tokyo vs Chonburi

Venue: Tokyo Stadium, Tokyo

Its the 1st time that both teams play each other

FC Tokyo part as favorites to win this match while Chonburi have a vas experience in both the AFC Champions League and the AFC Cup and they will put in practice all their experience to fight for qualifying to the group stage.

Chonburi meets Japanese opposition again since they played vs Kashiwa Reysol in the playoff stage last year.

Its the 2nd time for FC Tokyo that they are competing in the AFC Champions League, their maiden debut was in 2012.

Shanghai SIPG vs Muangthong United FC

Venue: Shanghai Stadium, Shanghai

Its the maiden debut for Shanghai SIPG in AFC Competitions and they want to qualify to the group stage after having an amazing 2015 campaign in the Chinese Super League.

Its the 2nd time in a row that a Chinese club debuts in this stage, last year was Guangzhou R&F who also debuted in this same stage and won vs Central Coast Mariners.

Muangthong United previous encounter vs Chinese clubs was in 2013 when they played vs Guangzhou Evergrande, who emerged as the champions from that edition.

Adelaide United vs Shandong Luneng

Venue: Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide

Its the 2nd time that both teams play each other

In the ACL 2010 Adelaide won in China 2-0 and in Australia, they lose 1-0 vs Shandong.

Adelaide have only played vs 2 Chinese clubs since they started competing in this tournament, in 2008 vs Changchun Yatai and in 2010 vs Shandong Luneng.



AFC Cup 2016 Playoffs preview

afc cup 2016 playoff teams

The AFC Cup is back with the playoff stage and there are many debutant teams who are aiming to progress for the 1st time to the AFC Cup Group Stage and also some experienced teams who want to return after many years of absence.

Al Hidd vs K-Electric

Venue: Bahrain National Stadium, Manama

Al Hidd from Bahrain participated in the last 2 editions and wish to make it 3 in a row. their best result was in 2014 when they reach the quarterfinals

K-Electric who won the Group A of the qualifying playoff back in August is taking place, following the footsteps of KRL FC, once AFC President´s Cup finalists in 2013, they entered in the history books as becoming the 1st club from Pakistan to progress in a qualifying round of the AFC Cup.


Al Wahda vs Balkan

Venue: Saida Municipal Stadium, Saida

Balkan from Turkmenistan, AFC President´s Cup winner in 2013 wants to reach the higher level and become the 2nd Turkmen club to qualify for the group stage, they have played against Syrian opposition previously as Nebitchi Balkanabat only in twice opportinity, in the inaugural season in 2004 they played vs Al Jaish, in the game played in Ashgabat they lose 6-0 but in Oman they drew 0-0.

Alhi Al Khaleel vs FK Khudjand

Venue: Dura Stadium, Hebron, Hebron

FK Khudjand from Tajikistan are back in the AFC Competitions after 16 years of absence, last time was in the 1999-2000 Asian Cup Winners Cup, but this is their debut in the AFC Cup and in their 1st shot they want to prevail and qualify, they count with many experienced players like the goalkeeper Alisher Tuychiev, who won the AFC President´s Cup in 2012 with FK Istiklol Dushanbe, also other players with Istiklol background and who won the AFC President´s Cup are forward Farkhod Tokhirov, defender Eraj Rajabov, also experienced defender Daler Tukhtasunov, they are very motivated to qualify, its the 1st time they play vs a Palestine club, also for Alhi Al Khaleel from the city of Hebron this is their debut in AFC Competitions.

Encounters between Tajik and Palestine clubs were most of the times at the AFC President´s Cup where Tajiks have been always victorious, Istiklol played against twice vs Shabab Al Amari, in the group stage won 1-0 and in the final played in Dushanbe in 2012 they won 2-1, in 2011 Istiklol played vs Jabal Al Mukaber and won 2-0, this is the 2nd time that a club from Palestine and Tajikistan will play each other in the AFC Cup.

Farhod Tokhirovfarhod

Alisher Tuychiev


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Tripoli vs Alay Osh

Venue: Tripoli Municipal Stadium, Tripoli

Alay Osh is back in the competition after their maiden debut in 2014, this time the 2 time Kyrgyz champions will play vs Tripoli from Lebanon who only played in the inaugural edition in 2004 where they reach the quarterfinals, this is the 1st time that both teams will play each other and its the 1st time that clubs from Lebanon and Kyrgyztan are facing each other in the AFC Cup, after Alga Bishkek couldn´t qualify tothis stage after losing in the qualifying playoff back in August, Alay wants to fly the flag again for Kyrgyzstan in the competition.

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