Erbil stays top of its Group at AFC Cup
Erbil defeats Alay 3-0 in its last match of AFC Cup group stage campaign
The Kurdish capital city club of Erbil finished off its AFC Cup group stage campaign in style with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Kyrgyzstan champions Alay on Tuesday that saw the former finalist secure top spot in Group D and home advantage in next month’s Round of 16.
The Yellow Castle team of Erbil needed only a point from its visit to Osh to win the group ahead of Bahraini side Riffa but Erbil club took all three points in a comprehensive win.
Spanish striker Borja Rubiato opened the scoring after 16 minutes and then second half goals from midfielder Nabeel Sabah and Hawar Mohammed sealed the win for the visitors.
After Erbil scored three goals against Riffa and Shabab Al Ordon in their previous two AFC Cup outings, winless Alay was always going to have a difficult task. And Rubiato notched his fifth goal of the tournament just after the quarter of an hour mark to put Erbil in front at half-time.
And although Alay fought back valiantly, again backed by a passionate home support, they conceded again nine minutes after the restart when Sabah doubled the visitors’ lead. Mohammed’s goal in 65 minutes ended the scoring and any hopes the hosts may had of an improbable comeback.
“I am happy with this result and first place in the group stage as we continue our progress in the AFC Cup,” said Erbil coach Ayoub Odisho
Odisho thinks Alay played well in the defense as it tried not to give Erbil chances, however, Erbil still scored three goals and reached our target.
“Even though the match was not easy for my team, the goal which we scored in the first half helped us to play better in the second half. Our next aim is to qualify for the quarter-finals as want to be battle till the end in this competition.” He noted
Alay tried to reach first victory in the tournament, but the team made a lot of mistakes during the match and Erbil proved to be a stronger team.
Erbil is very strong, maybe the strongest in the competition. It has been our first participation in this tournament and we had a good experience of continental football and, I’m sure, it will help us in the future, “said Alay coach Boris Streltsov
Streltsov promised to try hard so that his team would return back to the AFC Cup in next year’s competition.