Melaka: Balkan boss Rahim Kurbanmamedov had luck to thank for his club’s winning the AFC President’s Cup 2013 in Malaysian state Melaka on Sunday.
The Turkmenistan club stormed into the final against KRL Football Club of Pakistan as the top scoring side in the six-club finals having accumulated 10 unanswered goals from their two matches in the group stage of their campaign.
Balkan, appearing for the third time in the AFC President’s Cup, controlled most of the proceedings in the game and made many chances but failed to convert them.
The second half saw them defending their area a little more as KRL had better attacking opportunities but these also went down the drain.
The fruitful moment for Balkan came as midfielder and the tournament’s eventual MVP Amir Gurbani scored the game’s lone goal three minutes from time to seal the championship.
“We scored six goals in our first match in the campaign against Three Star Club of Nepal and then four in our second tie with Mongolian Club Erchim, so altogether 10 goals,” said Kurbanmamedov (pictured) . “But the final is different and teams at this level must be seriously considered and respected.
“And KRL were very strong and good teams are usually good at stopping their opponents from making goals. So tonight the Pakistani club managed to stop us until our try just a few minutes before the final whistle. Only that we had luck in this game and this is why we won.”
KRL head coach U.F. Tariq Lutfi hailed his team’s successful efforts at stopping Balkan from making more goals in their final game after beating two-time champions Dordoi of Kyrgyzstan 1-0 and defeating Palestine’s AlQuds Hilal Club 2-0 in their group games.
“We do accept Balkan as the winners because Balkan made better efforts and created more chances than us and they really played a wonderful game,” he said. “Yes, I admit that we played less football in this game because we were up against a strong team and it was difficult to counterattack. We made two clear chances and we missed.
“The Central Asian team scored six goals in their first game and then four goals in their second, but we managed to stop them at only one goal and that was in the last minutes of the game, so I’d say our team made good efforts and I ‘d like to praise my team as well."
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