Tajikistan Higher League 2020: season round-up

Match Reports, News, Tajikistan Higher League

Istiklol win ninth title, Regar-tadAZ relegated for the first time.

Istiklol lifted their ninth Tajikistan Higher League trophy in a campaign described by coach Vitaliy Levchenko as “intense and productive”, and “interesting and difficult” by defender Oleksiy Larin. Propelled by the 7-0 drubbing of top tier debutants Dushanbe-83 in the season opener, the Lions went unbeaten for 15 games until a shock defeat to CSKA in September.

At the other end of the table, winning just three matches, Regar-TadAZ were relegated to the first division for the first time in the club’s history. A top-tier contender since the league’s conception in 1992 – lifting the trophy seven times between 2001-2008 – the Tursunzoda outfit drop down, having accumulated a mere 12 points.

Top scorer: Ilkhom Barotov

With 18 goals, Istaravshan captain Ilkhom Barotov finished league top scorer. Trailing behind Istiklol’s Manuchehr Dzhalilov – who finished on 16 – for most of the season, his five goals in the gameweek 17 thrashing of Fayzkand, clinched it for the 30-year-old. The midfielder became the first non Istiklol player for ten years to earn the title, and the first Istaravshan player since Zokir Berdikulov in 1995.

Ilkhom Barotov

What’s next?

Champions Istiklol will face Tajikistan Cup winners Ravshan in the 2021 Super Cup, set to take place a week prior to the 2021 campaign opener. Istiklol have automatically qualified for the AFC Champions League group stage, and runners-up Khujand go into the play-offs. 

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