Abdy Bashimov struck twice in the first half to secure Turkmenistan’s FC Ahal a 2-1 win against FC Alay of Kyrgyz Republic in their 2019 AFC Cup Central Zone Preliminary Stage first leg at the Akhmatbek Suyinbaev Stadium on Wednesday.
The two sides had met in the 2018 edition, where Ahal emerged victors twice in the group stage.
With a better track record, Ahal wasted no time in asserting dominance and broke the deadlock in the 20th minute through Bashmov’s effort.
Alay, however, held their composure and pushed the visitors back and equalised on 36 minutes with Eldiiar Sardarbekov finding the back of the net, but their celebration were cut short when Bashimov restored Ahal’s one-goal advantage just two minutes later.
Ahal then went in search of a third goal in order to take a healthy advantage back but Alay’s defence held firm.
Alay had a number of attempts of their own in the second half but it was not to be as Ahal held on to their lead ahead of next Wednesday’s second leg.
Photos: Football Federation of the Kyrgyz Republic