A second half strike by substitute Hassan Maatouk helped Lebanese club Al-Ahed to edge past Dempo Sports Club by a solitary goal in a Group 'B' match of the AFC Cup in Margao, Goa, on Wednesday.
Al-Ahed, who had territorial advantage throughout the match, scored the all-important goal in the 72nd minute when Maatouk got the better of defender Raju Singh inside the box and beat 'keeper Abhijit Mondal from an acute angle at the Nehru stadium.
Al-Ahed utilised the flanks well with long passes and could have easily won the return match, by a bigger margin had they not missed at least three clear chances.
Dempo, who defended well, also had their chances to score but 'keeper Biilal Hachem brought off some good diving saves to thwart Ranty Martins and Clifford.
The victory took Al-Ahed's tally to six points from three matches and brightened their chances of qualifying for the next round as the second best team. They have a match in hand against table-toppers Al Hussein, who have nine points from three victories.
Dempo, who lost to Al-Ahed in the 'away' match earlier through a controversial goal, finished their league engagements, losing all their four matches.