Abahani gave up an early lead to eventually settle for a 1-1 draw against Taiwan Power Company in their second AFC President's Cup qualifiers yesterday.
It was their second drawn encounter by identical margins at the Dasharat Stadium in Kathmandu, but this result was more satisfying for the Sky Blues as it was against the former champions.
Rony, who had struck three goals for Bangladesh in AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers, gave Abahani the lead in the 5th minute firing home an Awudu Ibrahim cross.
Taiwan Power, a far superior club in the rankings, needed only nine minutes to restore parity with Hung Kai-Chun completing a solo run in dashing style.
After resumption, Ibrahim failed to capitalise on a Rony cross as the Ghanaian slipped while chasing the ball. The rest of time Abahani were busy holding their fort against a rampant Taiwan Power, who saw a beefy attempt from Lin Chang denied by the woodwork.
With two draws in successive matches, Abahani stand a bright chance to move into the finals, a stage they never reached in their previous four attempts, if they can beat Erchim FC of Mongolia in their last match on Saturday.
The Mongolian club crashed to a 2-0 defeat against Three Star who now lead the four-team table with four points.
“Now we have an easier match against Erchim FC and we are hopeful to make it to the final round,” said Abahani Iranian coach Ardeshir Pournamat. Top two teams from the group will advance into the final round.
“Draw was not what we had expected. We were looking for a win rather than playing for a draw.”
The Iranian coach however admitted that they adopted a defensive strategy.