Uzbekistan league champions Pakhtakor claimed their second win against Al Kuwait as they defeated Kuwait league champions 2-1 in Group B action at the Army Stadium on Wednesday.
With Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal already having claimed the group ticket to the knockout-stage, both sides were playing to avoid finishing in last place in the group.
Uche Iheruome opened the scoring for Pakhtakor before Shakhboz Erkinov doubled the lead for the two-time ACL semi-finalists while Faraj Laheeb scored the only goal for Al Kuwait.
Pakhtakor dominated the opening 45 minutes but they were unable to create any scoring chances until the final minute of the first half when Nigerian striker Iheruome gave his side the lead.
After a quick counter attack which was launched by Iheruome, the 20-year-old striker broke clear before sending a lob over Al Kuwait advanced goalkeeper Khaled Al Fadhli to give the advantage going into the break.
Pakhtakor picked up in the second half where they left off in the first period and their continued pressure could have paid dividends in the 55th minute only for a header from Iheruome cleared the crossbar.
Al Kuwait battled hard to claw their way back into the game but they were hit hard in the 59th minute when Pakhtakor doubled their advantage with a header from Erkinov.
Good work from Ildar Magdeev on the right flank gave him enough time to send his cross into the area where Iheruome laid the ball off Erkinov, whose header beat Al Fadhli with the goal standing despite the claims from the Al Kuwait players that Erkinov was offside.
In the 64th minute, Pakhtakor went close to adding a third goal when second half substitute Timur Kapadze, who came in for Server Djeperov on 57 minutes, received the ball inside the area but his close-range shot slammed against the right post.
The visitors pulled a goal back in the 70th minute when skipper Faraj Laheeb fired a left-foot drive from outside the area into the left corner of Ignatiy Nesterov’s goal, but it was not enough to spark a revival for Al Kuwait.