FC Istiklol thump Pahang FA

FC Istiklol of Tajikistan thrashed Malaysian giants Pahang FA 4-0 in the first leg of their AFC Cup quarter-final match at Republican Central Stadium in Dushanbe.

Both teams are making their debut in the competition this year, but it is the Tajik side who now find themselves on the brink of qualifying for the semi-finals thanks to their sterling performance on Wednesday.

The home team looked dominant from the first whistle but their pressure only converted into goals towards the end of the first half.

Dilshod Vasiev nearly scored from the edge of the penalty area in the 14th minute and efforts from Siyovush Asrorov and Manuchehr Dzhalilov also just missed the target.

But on 35 minutes, Mahdi Chahjooei cut inside from the right and collected a pass from Khurshed Makhmudov before firing the ball past Pahang goalkeeper Mohd Nasril.

Three minutes later, Istiklol doubled their advantage, as Vasiev claimed his first of two goals on the night, his shot deflecting off the boot of Zesh Rahman and into the net.

Just minutes after after half-time, the home side had their third, as Makhmudov's left-footed effort soared into the top corner.

Vasiev's brace came 14 minutes from time, a superb right-footed strike that again had the beating of Nasril in the Pahang goal.

The Malaysians now face a mammoth task to stay in the competition when the second leg arrives in September.

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