AFC Cup: Indian clubs lose once more

The two Indian participating clubs - Salgaocar SC and East Bengal Club - in the 2012 AFC Cup both suffered further defeats in the fourth round of matches and are now out of the competition. While East Bengal lost 0-2 at Iraqi side Arbil SC, Salgaocar were beaten 1-2 at home by Al-Wehdat from Jordan.

East Bengal suffered their fourth defeat in this seasons AFC Cup, a 0-2 away loss to Iraqi side Arbil SC who were the better side on display but they needed two penalties on both sides of the break. Syrian striker Abdulrazak Al Husein broke the deadlock in the first minute of stoppage time at the end of the first half at Francouse Al Hareeri Stadium. And just two minutes into the second half, Al Husein again held his nerve from the spot to hand Arbil a second win of the campaign to join Kuwait's Kazma three points clear of Yemen's Al Orouba at the top of Group B with just two games remaining.

"Arbil are a strong team and we struggled a lot against them whether in the previous match or tonight. They deserved to win as our side didn't have a good performance," said East Bengal assistant coach Ranjan Chaudhuri who was in-charge in the absence of Trevor Morgan.

"We learnt a lot from today's match and we will go into our next two matches against Al Orouba and Kazma looking to prepare for the local league as we have suffered four consecutive defeats in the AFC Cup."

Ten men Salgaocar SC suffered a 1-2 loss against Al-Wehdat from Jordan at the Nehru Stadium, Margao which ended any hopes of the Goans to progress from the group stage. Amer Abuhwaiti's eighth minute opener had put the visitors in command and Salgaocar were reduced to ten men in the 55th minute when defender Khelemba Singh was given his marching orders for a second booking in the 55th minute, but midfielder Ahmed Ishfaq equalised with 19 minutes remaining to raise hopes of at least one point staying in Goa but Mahmoud Shelbaieh struck in the 82nd minute to maintain his perfect record of scoring in every game during the 2012 Group Stage to hand Al-Wehdat a third win of the campaign and go level in the AFC Cup all-time top scorers' list with Rico (Leandson Dias da Silva).

"Al Wehdat were physically superior and most of their players had experience playing in the AFC Cup. They knew what they were doing, they held possession and attacked at will," said Salgaocar coach Karim Bencherifa after the match.

"However, I will take nothing from Salgaocar as my boys showed a lot of character. We were better than Al-Wehdat in many departments like crossing, speed and energy. Overall I am very happy."

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