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Dushanbe: Manuchehr Dzhalilov bagged a second-half brace as Tajikistan’s FC Istiklol put one foot in the AFC Cup Inter-Zone final following a resounding 4-0 victory over Ceres Negros of the Philippines in the first leg of the Inter-Zone Semi-finals on Tuesday.

Akhtam Nazarov put the Tajik champions in front from the spot on 25 minutes at Hisor Central Stadium, before Romish Dzalilov doubled their advantage on the stroke of half-time.

Istiklol’s top scorer Manuchehr Dzhalilov then netted with a superb strike from distance midway through the second half, before the frontman rounded off the scoring from close in with two minutes to play to cap a comfortable night for the hosts.

The 2015 runners-up will next travel to Bacolod City for the second leg in three weeks’ time having handed Ceres a mountain to climb to remain in the tournament. 

Photo: Lagardère Sports