With Thai Son Nam of Vietnam having defeated Iraq’s Naft Al Wasat earlier on Sunday, AGMK only needed a draw against Al Rayyan to progress but they sealed their knockout stage berth with a win after overcoming a spirited Al Rayyan in an exciting tie.
They will face Group A winners Port FC of Thailand in the quarter-finals.
Al Rayyan, seeking a win after having lost to Naft Al Wasat and Thai Son Nam, shocked AGMK by taking the early lead after Mohammad Taheri found space in the middle before dribbling past the AGMK defenders to score from above the arc.
AGMK could have equalised a minute later when Khusniddin Nishonov got into a perfect scoring position but couldn’t get his shot on target.
The Uzbekistan side, however, continued pressing and received a lifeline in the third minute following an infringement by Said Ghulamnabi. Davron Choriev made no mistake from the penalty spot to equalise.
Spurred by their goal, AGMK increased the intensity of their attacks and took the lead three minutes later through Ilkhomjon Khamroev’s strike after good team build-up.
Al Rayyan came back fighting and caught AGMK off guard in a counter-attacking move which led to Mohammad Safari scoring in the 11th minute following Mohammad Taheri’s square pass from above the arc.
AGMK, however, retook the lead in the 13th minute through Choriev, who finished off Akbar Usmonov’s pass.
Usmonov then scored two quick goals in the 18th minute when he pounced on a mistake by Al Rayyan goalkeeper Ahmad Khalil to first stab home AGMK’s fourth goal and seconds later, hit home from above the arc after finding space on the right to give his side a commanding 5-2 lead at the break.
Despite trailing, Al Rayyan kept their heads up and fought hard to get back into the game in the second half and were rewarded as Safari struck twice in the 24th minute.
The first came when Safari gained possession in his own half and surged down the left before beating AGMK’s Rustam Umarov and seconds later, found space in the centre when he lost his marker to score from the top of the arc.
Al Rayyan played with added confidence and equalised in the 26th minute through Taheri’s strike from outside the box after he lost his marker on the right flank.
The win that Al Rayyan desired, however, was not to be as it was AGMK who scored next as Nishonov finished off Ikhtiyor Ropiev’s assist.
The Uzbekistan club then confirmed the points and their place in the quarter-finals in the 34th minute after Ropiev beat his marker on the left flank before firing a low drive into the back of the net.