Khujand's Levchenko determined to learn from defeat
Ashgabat: FC Khujand head coach Vitaly Levchenko left Turkmenistan focused on avoiding a repeat of the 'childish mistake' which damaged his side's 2019 AFC Cup knockout stage hopes in a 1-0 defeat to Altyn Asyr FC on Wednesday.
The visitors spent large periods of the Group D encounter at Ashgabat's Kopetdag Stadium on the back foot, but it was a single defensive lapse that proved decisive, as they were caught cold by a long ball to allow Murat Yakshiyev to score the game's only goal in the 32nd minute.
While fellow Tajik side FC Istiklol's later defeat to Kyrgyz Republic's Dordoi FC keeps Khujand alive in Group D, their position is precarious following Wednesday's loss - one Levchenko vowed to learn from.
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"Of course, any time you lose brings negative emotions," he said. "You feel sad as a coach and a person, because if you are a sportsman you have feeling inside that you don't like losing."
"It doesn't matter if you're playing at home or playing away, any competition we participate in, we have a task to win, and that's why we feel disappointed. That's a natural feeling."
"Our defenders lost concentration for one moment and made a childish mistake, but it's not terrible. We are working and moving forward, and we will try to eliminate the mistakes.
"We have a task in the AFC Cup as well as in the domestic championship of Tajikistan. We will analyse this game and we are working game to game.
"I think we won't make a mistake like this again."
Still on four points, Wednesday's defeat saw Khujand drop to third place in Group D, but they could conceivably surge back into knockout stage contention should they beat reigning Tajikistan champions Istiklol at home on Matchday Five.
Progressing to the latter stages would be a mighty achievement for a club appearing in the AFC Cup group stage for the first time, but Levchenko said his side being newcomers at this level doesn't mean their expectations should be any lower.
FT: Altyn Asyr FC 🇹🇲 1-0 🇹🇯 FC Khujand #AFCCup2019 #AAFvKHU— AFC Cup (@AFCCup) May 15, 2019
Lone goal from Yakshiyev's in the first half was just enough for Altyn Asyr FC to take home all 3 points. As it stands they sit 2nd behind FC Istiklol in Group D and are yet to lose a game. pic.twitter.com/ZidhMD80jJ
"We might be debutants in the competition, but we are here not only for getting experience," declared the 47-yer-old.
"We have a goal of going into every match trying to play and win, and we never come just to look for experience.
"We want to complete our task. Whether we do well or badly depends on us, but we have defined goals and this is what we follow."
FC Khujand will face Istiklol on June 19, before traveling to Bishkek to meet Dordoi FC seven days later, as they continue their bid to claim the single knockout stage place on offer in Group D.
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