2020 Tajikistan Higher League: season round-up

Istiklol won their ninth title, while Regar-TadAZ faced first-time relegation.

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 for the first time in the club’s history. A top-tier contender since the league’s formation in 1992 – lifting the trophy seven times between 2001-2008 – the Tursunzoda outfit dropped down a division, having accumulated a mere 12 points. Lokomotiv were also relegated following a disappointing season; W3 D5 L10.

Top scorer: Ilkhom Barotov

With an 18-goal haul, Istaravshan captain Ilkhom Barotov topped the scoring charts. Tailing Istiklol’s Manuchehr Dzhalilov – who finished on 16 – for most of the season, Barotov’s five goals in the gameweek 17 thrashing of Fayzkand clinched the accolade. The midfielder became the first non Istiklol top scorer in ten years, and Istaravshan’s first since Zokir Berdikulov in 1995.

Ilkhom Barotov

What’s next?

Champions Istiklol will face Tajikistan Cup winners Ravshan in the 2021 Super Cup on Thursday 1 April. Istiklol qualified for the AFC Champions League, while Khujand and Tajik Cup winners Ravshan entered the AFC Cup.

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