Tajikistan Higher League: gameweek 1

Match Reports, News, Tajikistan Higher League

5th-8th April 2020
Tajikistan Higher League
Gameweek 1

Dushanbe-83 0-7 Istiklol

(Orazsakhedov 25, M.Dzhalilov 31, 46, 64, A.Dzhalilov 60, Boboev 80, 90)

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. 

Highlights: Dushanbe-83 0-7 Istiklol

CSKA Pamir 1-3 Khujand

(Gaforov 76; Sidorov 45, Beknazarov 63, Ahmadov 90)

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.

Highlights: CSKA Pamir 1-3 Khujand

Lokomotiv Pamir 2-2 Fayzkand

(Sulaymonov 54, Zaripov 73; Rustamov 48, Khasanov 70)

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.

Tajikistan Higher League highlights: Lokomotiv Pamir 2-2 Fayzkand

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.

Tajikistan Federal Cup 2020 highlights: Kuktosh 2-1 Ravshan Kulob

2020 Tajik Super Cup: Istiklol 2-1 Khujand

Match Reports, News

Lions hit late double to clinch third consecutive Tajik Super Cup

Trailing in the second minute, in a dramatic turnaround, the Lions fought back in Dushanbe to sink Khujand, striking twice inside two minutes deep into the second half, to etch their name on the trophy for a ninth time.

It was a dream start for 2019’s Tajik top tier runners-up Khujand, going ahead through Sanjar Rikhsiboev in the second minute of play. A measured ball cleaved apart title-holders Istiklol’s back line, leaving Rikhsiboev only the onrushing Rustam Yatimov to beat, and he did, coolly slotting home.

The Lions immediately hit back, the Khujand custodian Mamur Ikramov being called straight into action, batting away in the fourth minute.

Tajik Super Cup 2020 highlights: Istiklol 2-1 Khujand

Spritely from the get-go, on-loan Uzbeki international Rikhsiboev could have doubled their advantage with a string of early opportunities. An effort pinged in at the near post was denied by the firm hand of Isiklol’s keeper, before a wasted opportunity in the 18th minute was dragged wide, and a lack of composure saw another chance sail over the woodwork moments later.

Set up deep, the Lions struggled with Khujand’s pace on the counter. Time after time, the likes of Bakhtiyor Choriyev and Abdulmumin Zabirov were able to tear through the middle of the park, opening up the unsettled Tajikistan treble-winners all too easily. 

Khujand’s Khurshed Beknazarov closes in on Istiklol’s Ehson Panjshanbe

The Sprawling Ikramov later pulled off a terrific save to keep out a fine Sheriddin Boboev effort, hurling himself low to parry left-handed to safety, protecting their 1-0 lead at half-time. Midway through the end-to-end affair, however, the game was still very much available for the taking. 

Between the Khujand sticks, Ikramov came into his own as the clash progressed. His brave aerial challenges, picking the ball out of the air, had kept the Lions at bay. 

With a plan up his sleeve, Istiklol coach Vitaliy Levchenko looked to crank up his side’s attacking intensity before the tie moved into its final third. Midfielder Muhammadjon Rakhimov and Turkmenistan marksman Wahyt Orazsähedow, the coach’s first changes, before Rustam Soirov entered the fray. 

The impact of the change in personnel was evident as Istiklol’s Boboev was hauled down, as he advanced into the blue penalty area. Ehson Panjshanbe lined up the free-kick but failing to get it up and over the three-man wall, it was sent spinning out of play.

But, on 77 minutes, disaster struck for Khujand, who were holding on against the Tajik treble winners. Khurshed Beknazarov’s headed clearance landed only as far as Istiklol forward Manuchekhr Dzhalilov – two-time scorer as the Lions downed Khujand in the AFC Cup clash in March – who took a touch before striking on the turn to level the tie. 

Substitute Muhammadjon Rakhimov (left) celebrates scoring the winning goal in the Tajik Super Cup 2020

Moments later, shaken and out of shape, to deepen Khujand’s woes, an upfield punt landed perfectly for substitute Rakhimov, who muscled off his marker and, with an outstretched leg, poked over the keeper to put his side ahead.

Despite a late surge from the blues and for all of Ikramov’s heroics in the Khujand goal, in a dramatic turnaround, Rakhimov’s winner clinched Istiklol’s ninth Tajik Super Cup title. 

Man of the Match: Manuchehr Dzhalilov

Istiklol 2-1 Khujand
(Sanjar Rixsiboev 2; M.Dzhalilov 77, Rakhimov 78)

Pamir Stadium, Dushanbe
Saturday 4th April 2020

Previous Tajik Super Cup winners
2010: Istiklol
2011: Istiklol
2012: Istiklol
2013: Ravshan Kulob
2014: Istiklol
2015: Istiklol
2016: Istiklol
2017: Khosilot Farkhor
2018: Istiklol
2019: Istiklol
2020: Istiklol