DUSHANBE, March 6, 2013, Asia-Plus -- A second-half penalty from Komil Saidov cancelled out an early own goal from team-mate Farrukh Choriyev as Regar-TadAZ marked Tajikistan’s Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup debut with a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Lebanon’s Safa SC in Group A on March 5.

The AFC’s website reports that with less than two minutes on the clock at Sports City Stadium, Choriyev’s mistimed clearance handed Safa the perfect start to their 2013 AFC Cup campaign having narrowly failed to advance past the group stage last year.

But Tajikistan Cup winners Regar remained in the contest despite the early set-back and were rewarded on the hour mark as Saidov converted from the penalty spot.

“The start of the match was not as good for us and we conceded a quick goal which changed everything for us, however, as the match continued the players got more confidence and their performance improved," said Regar coach Mahmadjon Habibulloyev.

“We asked the players not to play without pressure and we eventually managed to equalize in the second half.  The first match is always hard and a point from an away game is always good to start the competition with.”

With less than two minutes on the clock, Safa were handed the ideal start as Ahmad Al Omier’s cross was turned into his own net by Choriyev as the defender attempted to clear the near post delivery.

Regar remained positive despite the early setback, but only a last-ditch goalline clearance from Dalerjon Tukhtasunov stopped Nigerian striker Uchenna Ngwu doubling the home side’s lead after 18 minutes.

Ngwu again went close two minutes before the break as his powerful downward header from Tarik El Amrati’s corner appeared to be bound for the bottom corner until Regar goalkeeper Farhod Yuldoshev was at full stretch to keep his side within touching distance at the break.

Regar remained in the contest at the start of the second half and Saidov flashed a header wide of the Safa upright three minutes before the hour mark.

And the visitors drew level on the hour mark as Saidov sent Safa goalkeeper Ziad El Samad the wrong way from the penalty spot after Safarali Karimov had been upended just inside the area following a darting run forward by the defender.