Al Qadsia gain revenge over Al Ittihad
Al Qadsia came out on top in a rematch of last year's AFC Cup final as second-half goals from Firas Al Khatib and Hamid Inizi saw then overcome defending champions Al Ittihad at Aleppo International Stadium on Tuesday.
Al Qadsia lost last year's showpiece encounter but, following a goalless first half, Syrian Al Khatib broke the deadlock in the Group B encounter on the hour with a fine 30-yard strike. Al Ittihad then lost Majd Homsi a minute later after the skipper picked up his second caution of the game before Inizi wrapped up the points in stoppage time.
In the group's other game, Shurtan drubbed Al Saqr 7-2 at Guzor Central Stadium to give coach Edgar Gess the ideal birthday present. The hosts did not open the scoring until the 41st minute when Vadim Afonin headed home Alexander Merzlyakov's cross.
From then on it was one-way traffic as Afonin claimed another and Shakhboz Erkinov also completed a brace while Pedrag Vujovic, Igor Taran and Laziz Ubaydullaev also got on the scoresheet. Murad Abdullah and Papy Ndombe Lukuku replied for the visitors.
Keith Gumbs enjoyed a goalscoring return to Hong Kong and Diano smashed an injury-time free-kick as Sriwijaya upset TSW Pegasus 2-1 at Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground in Group F. Gumbs spent a large part of his career in the self-administered region and the 38-year-old striker wasted no time reintroducing himself when he found the back of the net from a tight angle after just three minutes.
Leandro levelled for the hosts when he slotted home midway through the second half but, with the game heading for a draw, Diano's dramatic intervention saw the defender thump a 30-yard free-kick into the back of the net with almost the last kick of the game.
Meanwhile, VB failed to build on their opening draw against the Indonesians as they went down 3-1 at home to Song Lam Nghe An. Ali Afshaq gave the home side the lead but Song Lam - who also had Tran Son Ha sent off - hit back through goals from Nguyen Quang Tinh, Nguyen Ngoc Anh and Ngo Hoang Thinh.
Artur Gevkoryan's goal two minutes from time saw Nasaf go top of Group A with a 3-2 win at Al Tilal, while Al Ansar got the better of Dempo 2-0 at Sports City Stadium.
Finally in Group E, Darwish Al Maashari's 25th-minute goal was enough for Al Arouba to edge out Al Ahed at Al Seeb Sports Stadium while Arbil and Al Karamah played out a 1-1 draw.