Tajikistan Higher League 2020: season round-up

Match Reports, News, Tajikistan Higher League

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.

Tajikistan Higher League: gameweek 18

Match Reports, News

4th October 2020
Tajikistan Higher League
Gameweek 18

Regar-TadAZ 2-4 Kuktosh

(Bobodjonov 17, Boboev 90+4pen; Dieudoni 26 89, Sultonov 58, Ahmedov o.g 69) 

 Istaravshan 1-1 Khatlon

(Barotov 60pen; Bikatal 64)

Dushanbe-83 1-2 Istiklol

(Jones 38; M. Dzhalilov 74 84)

Fayzkand 1-0 Lokomotiv

 (Uzokov 90+4)

Khujand 1-2 CSKA

(Ergashev 68; Barotov o.g 76, Mabatshoev 80)

Tajikistan Higher League: gameweek 17

Match Reports, News

29th-30th September 2020
Tajikistan Higher League
Gameweek 17

Istaravshan 5-2 Fayzkand

(Barotov 11pen, 50, 68, 90+2, 90+4; Ikromov 86, Solekhov 90+5)

Barotov hit five as the Northern Tigers demolished Fayzand to seal their spot in the Higher League next season. The striker completed his hat-trick with the standout finish of the fixture; lobbing the keeper from long-range. Ikromov snuck through the Istaravshan back line, and Solekhov fired in late on for the visitors, only for Barotov to hit his fourth and fifth of the match and cap off a resounding victory.

Highlights: Istaravshan 5-2 Fayzkand

Kuktosh 1-1 Istiklol

( Yodgorov 70; M. Dzhalilov 16pen) 

Istiklol’s dip in form continued as the penultimate match of the season finished level in Kuktosh. Yodgorov’s bending effort in the second half cancelled out M. Dzhalilov’s 16th-minute opener from the penalty spot.

Highlights: Kuktosh 1-1 Istiklol

Regar-TadAZ 1-2 Khujand

(Ergashev 78; Fathulloev 64, Aliyev 77)

It took until the 64th minute for Fathulloev to break the deadlock, rounding off a weaving run to fire home from an acute angle. Aliyev doubled their advantage with a fine finish on the stretch, as his heavy first touch looked to have escaped him. Regar’s Ergashev hit back immediately as Khujand failed to clear their lines, but his acrobatic manoeuvre was the only response they could muster.

CSKA 3-1 Dushanbe-83

(Davlatbekov 1, Bobiev 41pen, Mabatshoev 85; Rashidbekov 62pen)

Davlatbekov’s first-minute opener set the tone, turning in from close-range as the keeper spilled into the midfielder’s path. Bobiev dispatched from the spot minutes before the half-time whistle, however, Rashidbekov reduced the deficit converting a Dushanbe-83 penalty in the second period. Mabatshoev put the game to bed late on, rising highest to glance home.

Khatlon 0-0 Lokomotiv

Tajikistan Higher League: gameweek 16

Match Reports, News

26th-27th September 2020
Tajikistan Higher League
Gameweek 16

Khatlon 2-3 Khujand

(Sharipov 64, Baki-Akhunov 90 + 2; Bozorov 4, Fathulloev 12, Ergashev 30)

CSKA 1-0 Istiklol

(Davlatbekov 39)

Kuktosh 2-2 Istaravshan

(Abdugafforov 20, Mbeke 42; Karimov 4, Shamsiev, 90 + 2)

Regar-TadAZ 1-0 Faizkand

(Ergashev 90 + 3)

Dushanbe-83 1-0 Lokomotiv

(Kholov 17 o.g)

Tajikistan Higher League: gameweek 15

Match Reports, News

19th-20th September 2020
Tajikistan Higher League
Gameweek 15

Khatlon 1-1 Istiklol

(Soirov 45+3; Saidov 47pen)

Istiklol secured their ninth Tajikistan Higher League title with three matches remaining, despite being held to a draw at Khatlon. From a short corner, A. Dzhalilov cued up Soirov to curl in, catching the keeper off guard at his near post seconds before the half-time whistle. The hosts equalised shortly after the restart, as Saidov dispatched from the penalty spot to share the spoils.

Istaravshan 4-0 Regar-TadAZ

(Barotov 22 65 71, Kurbanov 87)

Barotov bagged a hat-trick as Istaravshan thrashed Regar-AZ to bounce back from consecutive defeats. The No10 dinked over the onrushing keeper to break the deadlock, before missing an opportunity to double, riffling off the post from the spot. Barotov’s redemption came in the second half, as the striker scooped in from close-range; the keeper spilling his initial low drive. The frontman arrowed in his third from the edge of the area, before Kurbanov tucked in to cap off an emphatic Northern Tigers victory.

Khujand 1-2 Kuktosh 

(Malodustov 36; Siebatcheu 49, Saidkhoja 56pen)

Malodustov’s close-range volley gave Khujand the lead after 36 minutes. Siebatcheu’s second-half header cancelled out the hosts’ advantage, before Saidkhoja stroked in from the spot for Kuktosh to take away all three points.

Lokomotiv-Pamir 3-2 CSKA

(Khasanov 56, Panjiev 60, Safarov 87; Mabatshoev 31pen, Gafforov 69)

Fayzkand 1-1 Dushanbe-83

(Solekhov 72pen; Leonel 16)

Tajikistan Higher League: gameweek 14

Match Reports, News

7th-11th September 2020
Tajikistan Higher League
Gameweek 14

Istiklol 6-1 Regar-TadAZ

(Boboev 5 17 34 68, Rakhimov 9, A. Dzhalilov 83; Mahamadiev 47)

Boboev glanced in the first of his four goals inside five minutes, connecting with Rakhimov’s pinpoint delivery from the right. Rakhimov’s speculative effort from distance bobbled in to double the hosts’ advantage, before Boboev tucked in goals three and four. The second half under way, Mahamadiev pulled one back for Regar as the Lions momentarily switched off. Boboev steered in his fourth, and A. Dzhalilov capped off a commanding victory, pouncing to side-foot home as the keeper fumbled. 

Highlights: Istiklol 6-1 Regar-TadAZ

Khujand 2-1 Istaravshan

(Bozorov 10, Fatkhulloev 54; Ashurmamadov 23)

Breaking the deadlock inside 10 minutes, Bozorov fired in at the near post, before Ashurmamadov levelled as a goal-mouth scramble ensued from a corner kick. Fatkhulloev’s second-half strike, however, proved decisive as Khujand edged the Northern Tigers in Istaravshan.

Highlights: Khujand 2-1 Istaravshan

Dushanbe-83 1-1 Khatlon

(Jones 77; Saidov 64)

The sides shared the spoils in the Tajik capital as Jones’ leaping header from Imomnazarov’s whipped delivery cancelled out Saidov’s 63rd-minute penalty.

Highlights: Dushanbe-83 1-1 Khatlon

Lokomotiv Pamir 2-1 Kuktosh 

(Sharipov 37, Zoirov 64; Odilov 33)

Fayzkand 1-1 CSKA  

(Murodov 12; Gaidash 67)

Tajikistan Higher League: gameweek 13

Match Reports, News

23th-24th August 2020
Tajikistan Higher League
Gameweek 13

Istaravshan 1-2 Istiklol  

(Ashurmamadov 23; Panjshanbe 59pen, Soirov 89) 

Istaravshan’s 23rd-minute opener against the league leaders certainly wasn’t in the script. As Istiklol failed to clear their lines from a corner, on the edge of the six yard box, Ashurmamadov’s instinctive thump proved too powerful, slipping between the keeper’s gloves to give the 8th-placed hosts the lead. As the end of the first half neared, the Lions looked likely to draw level as A. Dzhalilov was hauled down in the penalty area. M. Dhzalilov’s strike from the spot, however, was acrobatically saved by the Istaravshan shot-stopper, preserving their advantage. It took until the 59th minute for the visitors to level through a second penalty; this time dispatched clinically by Panjshanbe. As the final whistle loomed and the hosts looked to have secured a well-earned point, their hard work was cruelly undone; Soirov tucking in from close range in the 89th minute to clinch Istiklol’s 11th win of the campaign.

Highlights: Istaravshan 1-2 Istiklol

 Regar-TadAZ 0-0 Lokomotiv-Pamir

Highlights: Regar-TadAZ 0-0 Lokomotiv-Pamir

 Khatlon 0-0 CSKA

 Khujand 2-0 Fayzkand 

(Bozorov 34, Barotov 47)

 Kuktosh 2-2 Dushanbe-83

(Nazarov 44, Dieudoni 61; Rashidbekov 14, Murodov 69)

Tajikistan Higher League: gameweek 11

Match Reports, News

12th-13th August 2020
Tajikistan Higher League
Gameweek 11

Regar-TadAZ 1-5 CSKA

(Bobodjonov 77; Ibragimov 6 68, Sulaymonov 84, Kosimov 87, Gafforov 90 + 2) 

CSKA’s solid run of form continued in the 5-1 hammering of Regar-TadAZ. Nodding in the opener inside six minutes, Ibragimov steered in from a floated Bondar cross to double the deficit in the 66th minute. Bobodjonov struck back as Regar rallied, pouncing to fire home as the keeper fumbled his initial effort. However, killing the game off with two goals in three minutes, Sulaymonov and Kosimov punished disorganised hosts to conclude CKSA counter-attacks for goals three and four. With the final nail in the coffin, Kalandarov’s inch-perfect ball from the back fell for Gafforov, who brought it down with a wonderful first touch, nudged past the keeper and slotted home to cap off their game of the season thus far.

Highlights: Regar-TadAZ 1-5 CSKA

Istiklol 3-0 Fayzkand

(Rakhimov 24, M. Dzhalilov, 52 69)

Highlights: Istiklol 3-0 Fayzkand

Khujand 0-0 Lokomotiv-Pamir

Istaravshan 2-0 Dushanbe-83

(Ashurmamadov 7; Barotov 77pen)

Kuktosh 2-1 Khatlon

(Boboev 20 (o.g), Saidkhoja 48,Yodgorov 76) 

Tajikistan Higher League: gameweek 10

Match Reports, News

8th-9th August 2020
Tajikistan Higher League
Gameweek 10

Dushanbe-83 1-2 Khujand

(Jones 11; Fatkhulloev 21, Malodustov 76)

Khujand’s winning streak looked to be under threat as Dushanbe-83 took an early lead through Jones. The Senegalese striker raced beyond the shapeless Khujand back line to prod home inside 11 minutes. Their lead didn’t last long however, as Fatkhulloev’s 21st-minute free-kick went over the wall and in off the upright to level. The blues had to wait until deep into the second period to find the winner when Malodustov latched onto Choriyev’s defence-splitting through-ball to steer low into the bottom corner and clinch all three points.

Highlights: Dushanbe-83 1-2 Khujand

Fayzkand 0-0 Kuktosh

Highlights: Fayzkand 0-0 Kuktosh

Lokomotiv-Pamir 0-3 Istiklol

(A. Dzhalilov 8 45+1, Panjshanbe)

Highlights: Lokomotiv 0-3 Istiklol

Khatlon 4-2 Regar-TadAZ

(Sharipov 1 79, Saidov 51, Gathen 90; Bobodjonov 13pen 59pen)

Highlights: Khatlon 4-2 Regar-TadAZ

CSKA 1-1 Istaravshan

(Gafforov 13; Fozilov 44) 

Highlights: CSKA 1-1 Istaravshan

Tajikistan Higher League: gameweek 9

Match Reports, News

11th-12th July 2020
Tajikistan Higher League
Gameweek 9

Kuktosh 3-1 Fayzkand

(Shodiev 45+1, Ikramov 87, Abdugafarov 90+7; Rustamov 22)

Kuktosh overcame Fayzkand to bounce back from a rocky run of league form. Rustamov’s 22nd-minute penalty put the visitors in front, but Shodiev’s downward volley from distance skimmed through the mixer to equalise just before the half-time whistle. A draw looked almost certain as the end loomed, but Ikramov reacted quickest at the near post to guide home a speculative delivery in the 87th minute. Fayzkand’s woes deepened in injury time, conceding a second spot-kick. This time Abdugafarov stepped up to blast down the middle.

Highlights: Kuktosh 3-1 Fayzkand

Istiklol 1-0 Lokomotiv

(Soirov 44)

Highlights: Istiklol 1-0 Lokomotiv

Khujand 1-0 Dushanbe-83

(Firdavs 90+1)

Highlights: Khujand 1-0 Dushanbe-83

Regar-TadAZ 1-1 Khatlon

(Bobojonov 87; Boboev 83)

Highlights: Regar-TadAZ 1-1 Khatlon

Istaravshan 1-2 CSKA

(Barotov 70; Shervoni 4 12)