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.
Nine rounds into the Tajikistan Higher League, we take a look at the state of play.
Winning four games by at least a five-goal margin, Istiklol’s unbeaten run has seen them tighten their grip at the top. CSKA have overturned a rocky start; finding their feet in gameweek five, and top-tier newcomers Dushanbe-83 have exceeded expectations and sit mid-table. Istiklol’s Dzhalilov brothers have dominated the scoring; Manuchekhr on 10 and Alisher on 8.
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.
27th-28th June 2020 Tajikistan Higher League Gameweek 7
Khujand 1-3 Istiklol
(Rikhsiboev 3; M. Dzhalilov, A. Dzhalilov 77, Orazsähedow 90+1)
Manuchekhr Dzhalilov bundled in from a corner to cancel out Sanjar Rikhsiboev’s unexpected third-minute opener. Istiklol eventually gained control of the tie on 77 minutes, when Alisher Dzhalilov’s floated cross-cum-shot deceived the Khujand custodian to give Istiklol the lead. There was no let up for the hosts as the Lions continued to attack, Wahyt Orazsähedow driving into the bottom corner in injury time to remain at the league’s pinnacle.
Regar-TadAZ 1-2 Dunshanbe-83
(Ruziev 88 og; Jones, 45 + 1, Aminu 69)
With a minute of first-half stoppage time remaining, Agbley Jones fired home as the Regar defence were suckered in by Elchibek Rashidbekov’s enterprising run. Idris Aminu doubled for Dushanbe, striking low to cap a storming run from deep. Despite a late slip up when Izatullo Ruziev turned into his own net, Dushanbe-83 held on to claim their second consecutive win.
Ehson Panjshanbe gave the visitors a 28th-minute lead, intercepting a sloppy clearance with his chest, hooking it onto his right and firing home. Doubling the deficit, Fatkhullo Boboev arrived in the hosts’ penalty area unmarked to routinely slot into the bottom corner inside 36 minutes.
It took until the second half for the hosts to strike back, Oyatullo Safarov’s looping delivery deceiving the Lions’ keeper to nestle into the back of the net on the hour mark. Their hope of recovery wasn’t long lived, however, as Ehson Panjshanbem picked out the Istiklol skipper Alisher Dhzalilov, who steered in from close range one minute later.
Turkmenistan striker Wahyt Orazsähedow hit Istiklol’s fourth, before Muhammadjon Rakhimov added another, latching onto to A. Dhzalilov’s defence-piercing ball to tuck in. Rustam Soirov added an extra sheen to the scoreline, cruising goalwards unchallenged to make it six.
CSKA Pamir Dushanbe 1-1 Fayzkand
(Gafforov 57; Safarzoda 72)
Shodibek Gafforov glanced in from Muhammadjon Rakhimov’s free-kick, whipped in dangerously from the right, to break the deadlock on 57 minutes. Fakhriddin Safarzoda supplied Fayzkand’s leveller, getting a crucial touch on an inswinging delivery.
Istaravshan 1-2 Khujand
(Barotov 10; Safarov 62, Abdugafforov 78pen)
Mbeke Siebatcheu’s smart ball over the top found Ilhomjon Barotov, whose first-time finish put the Northern Tigers ahead in the 10th minute. As the tie moved into the final third, Manuchehr Safarov headed Khujand’s equaliser, before Oybek Abdugafforov dispatched the winner from the penalty spot on 78 minutes.
The Tajikistan Higher League returns on Tuesday 16 June 2020 – here’s a rundown of everything you need to know from the competition’s first four weeks.
The league standings Istiklol currently top the table, but only narrowly, as Khatlon are hot on their heals in second place on goal difference. Bottom of the table, struggling Istaravshan are yet to collect a point, losing all four of their matches this season.
Who is the top goalscorer? Istiklol’s Manuchekhr Dzhalilov has already netted seven league goals this season. A hat-trick – which included an acrobatic flying volley – on gameweek one, and two on both gameweek three and four.
The 29-year-old striker has returned to Istiklol having failed to make his mark in Indonesia with stints at Sriwijaya and Persebaya. That’s good news for Istiklol fans, no less. The 29-year-old striker played for the club between 2015-17, scoring 59 goals in 47 appearances.
Highest scoring games So far, two games have finished with a seven-goal scoreline – both Istiklol victories (6-1 against Kuktosh, 0-7 against Dushanbe-83).
Best individual performances Three hat-tricks have been scored so far this season. Manuchekhr Dzhalilov registered the first in Istiklol’s demolition of Dushanbe-83 in their season opener. Istiklol’s 17-year-old Rustam Soirov hit three on gameweek four’s romp over Kuktosh. In the same gameweek, Khatlon’s Khudoidod Uzokov took home the match ball in their 3-2 victory away to Lokomotiv Pamir.
18th-22nd April 2020 Tajikistan Higher League Gameweek 3
Kuktosh 1-1 Khujand
(Rasulov 41; Saidkhodzha 57)
Kuktosh and Khujand share the spoils as the hosts continue their unbeaten run
Kuktosh took the lead in the 41st minute though Hikmatullo Rasulov. Khujand were slow to react as a quickly-taken corner from the left was rolled into Rasulov. All the time in the world, he takes a few touches to nudge it closer, picks his spot and whips it into the top corner.
The visitors levelled early in the second half with a well-worked move. Laid into Mukhammadsharifi Saidkhodzha on the right flank, he shakes off his man by cutting back and squares across the penalty area. Sanjar Rihksiboev dummies, leaping over his pass, allowing it to fall into the tracks of Fatkhullo Fatkhuloev who wallops it home.
Deep into stoppage time, Fatkhullo Fatkhuloev had the chance to snatch all three points for Khujand. But his free-kick, struck side-footed from the edge of the penalty area, was denied by Kurbonali Boboev, who lept high to tip it to safety.
Dzhalilov levels from the penalty spot in late drama against ten-man Khatlon
Umarjon Sharipov’s 80th-minute dismissal had left Khatlon defending their 2-1 lead against a Istiklol side who had dominated the second half.
In stoppage time though, Manuchekhr Dzhalilov made no mistakes as he dispatched from the penalty spot to level the scoring and clinch a point for Istiklol.
Khatlon had taken the lead inside nine minutes. Hussein Nurmatov’s shrewdly taken free-kick was switched cross-field to Naimjon Ibrahimzoda, and the right back launched goalwards from distance. Spilled by the Istiklol custodian, Parviz Baki-Akhunov reacted quickest to turn it in.
The Lions equalised just after the half-hour mark, as the visitors failed to deal with Alisher Dzhalilov’s devilish inswinging corner. An attempted headed clearance fell conveniently for Manuchekhr Dzhalilov at the back post, who guided in.
Putting the visitors in front going in at the break, a botched Istiklol clearance was pounced upon by Khatlon captain Umarjon Sharipov. Weaving in and out of the red jerseys, finding a passage through to goal, he placed it clinically into the bottom corner, just before the half-time whistle.
In a wave of second-half Istiklol attacks, Manuchekhr Dzhalilov’s superbly struck 59th-minute free-kick had the keeper beaten as it crashed off the woodwork, before the No63 found himself through on goal again, this time to be denied by Kuaye Godson’s outstretched limb. Called into action moments later, Khalton’s Godson got low to smother Istiklol defender Zoir Juraboev’s glanced effort.
Khatlon were forced to battle through the final ten minutes with ten men, and in the dying stages of game saw their hard work undone as Manuchekhr Dzhalilov’s spot kick ensured the sides shared the spoils.
CSKA Pamir Dushanbe 3-1 Lokomotiv Pamir
(Gafforov 6, Vasiev 30, Zoirov 50; Ibragimov 79)
Regar-TadAZ 4-1 Istaravshan
(Makhamadiev 1 51, Ganiev 59 67; Barotov 37)
Makhamadiev and Ganiev at the double as hosts hit four to claim first victory in style
Off to a flying start, Sherzod Makhamadiev skipped past the onrushing Istaravshan keeper to coolly slot home and give Regar the lead inside the first minute of play.
Istaravshan soon found their feet, nevertheless, as Cameroonian Mbeke Deudone conjured up several decent opportunities. His best, a long-range effort tipped over the woodwork.
The visitors struck back on 37 minutes through Ilhomjon Barotov. Receiving it on the edge of the area, Barotov swivelled before bending it beyond the sprawling keeper to level.
Having clawed their way back into tie, Istaravshan had gained some momentum. But as the second half kicked off, that soon unravelled as Regar once again took charge. Makhamadiev fired the hosts back in front in the 51st minute, as he arrived inside the penalty area undetected.
Throughout the fixture, Istaravshan had struggled to cope with Regar’s pace on the right flank, particularly the jet-heeled Khodzhiakbar Uzokov. The No17, who had zipped through the sluggish yellow back line to spark the opening goal, helped deepen the visitors woes, yet again.
Drawing out yellow shirts in their numbers, he ventured into Istaravshan territory. Cutting inside, he squared to Dilovarsho Ganiev, whose fine strike soared into the back of the net to make it 3-1.
Ganiev struck again in the 67th minute, hitting Regar’s fourth, as Istaravshan attempted to play out from the back. Pouncing on a loose ball, a cheeky dink with the outside of his boot floated over the keeper to put an extra sheen on the scoreline.
Khatlon continue winning run downing weary Khujand on the road
Some thorough tackling and cautious clearances – hurled back and forth – made for a frenetic opening to the match. Khatlon, resplendent in yellow, acted first to take the reins.
A dangerous deliverer of the ball, and keen to pull the trigger from distance, Khatlon’s No66 Naimjon Ibrahimzoda posed a constant threat from the right. Given too much room to cut inside onto his lethal left peg, in the 20th minute, the right back curled in a pinpoint cross to pick out Khudoidod Uzokov. Dropping into the path of the No10, he only had to make a connection to steer in the opener.
Khatlon’s advantage was doubled in the 35th minute – Khujand’s defence still hadn’t learnt their lesson, reacting slowly in shutting down Sorbon Avgonov, as he was allowed to casually bend into the top bin.
Khujand’s front line had been forced to feed off scraps in the first period, but from restart Khatlon were caught napping. Fatkhullo Fatkhuloev broke down the right to whip across the face of goal for Sanjar Rikhsiboev to turn in at the back post, bringing the hosts back into the tie.
Escaping a few moments of unease, Khatlon will thank the safe hands of Ghanaian keeper Quaye Godson, whose sterling shift between the sticks ensured his side kept the upper hand.
Parviz Baki-Akhunov converted the visitors’ third, blasting in off the upright on 72 minutes. And, despite a late resurgence through Dilshod Bozorov’s injury-time tap in, it was too late for Khujand to salvage a point.
Istiklol 2-0 CSKA Pamir
(A.Dzhalilov 18, Boboev 86)
The Lions’ persevere to seal victory
Alisher Dzhalilov broke the deadlock in the 18th minute, capitalising as CSKA failed to clear their lines – the No10 able to take a touch, pick his spot and drill low into the bottom corner.
Penned back for the most part, CSKA struggled to subdue the sharp Istiklol front line. In spite of ample opportunities however, the hosts failed to complete some slick passages of play and increase the deficit until the late arrival of Sheriddin Boboev.
Coming off the bench in the 75th minute, for the second match on the trot, Boboev killed off the tie, as he walloped home Istiklol’s second and high-fived the ball boys with minutes left on the clock.
Lokomotiv-Pamir 1-0 Dushanbe-83
(Ruziev OG 75)
Loko edge unlucky Dushanbe-83 to claim all three points late on
Izatullo Ruziev’s own goal was all that separated the sides at the final whistle. Shakhrom Sulaimonov’s searching 75th-minute free-kick – redirected by the Dushanbe-83 keeper – was inadvertently turned into the visitors’ net by the backtracking centre-half.
Dushanbe-83 had shown early promise, and for the majority of the match, looked the brightest side. Set up with intent, boasting a 4-2-4 formation, they sought to bounce back from the 7-0 mid-week hammering at the hands of Istiklol. Lokomotiv were aiming for their first win of the campaign following a 2-2 season-opener with Fayzkand.
A Dushanbe flurry inside 12 minutes set the tone, and Ismoil Alimardonov’s side-footed effort from the left forced the Loko shot-stopper into action. The Railway Men soon replied however, as Ozodbek Panjiev combined with Shakhrom Sulaimonov on the edge of the area to test the visitors’ custodian.
Relying on counter-attacks to breach a regimented home defence, 83 moved in their numbers, as swarms of sky blue jerseys were quick to both surge forward, and mute Loko’s advances.
From start to finish, causing the home side problems, was Dushanbe-83’s Ghanaian forward unit consisting of Idris Aminu, Agbley Jones and Colins Adukhen. Bursting forwards and chasing back, they battled for every loose ball, pouncing on any whiff of a chance. Their most promising attacking move came as Adukhen’s delivery, sliced in with the outside of his boot, was fired goalwards by Jones, who flung himself airborne to strike on the flying volley.
Nearing the final whistle, with the hosts narrowly leading and Dushanbe still turning the screw, Sulaimonov had the chance to kill the game off for Loko. His in-swinging free-kick though, was tipped onto the woodwork.
Manuchekhr Dzhalilov takes home the match ball in Istiklol’s seven-goal romp over newly-promoted Dushanbe-83.
Dushanbe-83, who finished third in the Tajik second tier last season, got off to a good start. Ghanaian speedster Agbley Jones knocking on the door straight off the bat. However, it wasn’t long before 2019 treble-winners Istiklol cranked it up a notch, and the game sparked into life. Breaking the deadlock in the 18th minute, Ehson Panjshanbe pinged into Turkmenistani No9 Wahyt Orazsähedow, to steer over the onrushing keeper. Five minutes later, Manuchekhr Dzhalilov’s acrobatic volley put the visitors 2-0 up.
CSKA’s Alisher Ergashev and Istiklol’s Ehson Panjshanbe trudged down the tunnel just before half-time in a double dismissal stemming from, what appeared to be, an accidental trip. Within seconds of the restart, Dzhalilov reacted quickest to glance in his second and the Lions’ third. Alisha Dzhalilov curled in a superb free-kick from distance, before M. Dzhalilov’s low blast confirmed his hat-trick. Sheriddin Boboev tucked in their sixth and seventh.
Khujand get their season off to a great start downing ten-man CSKA.
CSKA started brightly, popping it about at the back and pressing high with three-men up top. In the hope of breaching the hosts’ sturdy backline, deep-lying Khujand had resorted to thumping speculative long balls upfield.
Against the run of play, lofty Uzbeki marksman Andrey Sidorov’s powerful header broke the deadlock just before the half-time whistle. Growing in confidence, on 63 minutes Khurshed Beknazarov doubled Khujand’s advantage as CSKA failed to clear their lines.
A second yellow saw CSKA’s Firuz Bobiev dismissed on 67 minutes, though the hosts pulled one back in the 76th minute, Shodibek Gafforov getting his head to a loose ball in a goal-mouth scramble. Sidorov went close again, meeting a cross mid-air to side-foot over, but Manouchehr Ahmadov finally killed off CSKA, converting a penalty late in the day.
All four goals came in the second half – including Shakhrom Sulaimonov’s edge-of-the-box belter – as the top tier newcomers clashed in an entertaining draw in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe. A youthful Lokomotiv Pamir side came from behind twice, pulling level for a second time in the 73rd minute, as Azizdzhon Zaripov pounced on a loose ball to dink in and secure the visitors one point.
Khatlon 2-1 Istaravshan
(Baki-Akhunov 53, Boboev 90+4pen; Barotov 10)
Ehson Boboev dispatched a stoppage time spot kick for Khatlon to clinch a 2-1 opening-game victory over Istaravshan. Ilkhomdzon Barotov struck first, inside 10 minutes, putting the vistors in front. However, three-time league winners (1997, 2005, 2009) Khatlon rallied to claim a last-gasp win.
Kuktosh 0-0 Regar-TadAZ
Meanwhile in Rudaki, this year’s Tajikistan Federation Cup winners Kutkosh were held to goalless draw.