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Dokić eager to make AFC Champions League playoff heroics just the beginning for AGMK

Doha: Jovan Dokić is eager to ensure that AGMK FC make more happy 2021 AFC Champions League memories in the group stage after his last gasp goal sealed a historic win for the club on Wednesday.

The Serbian midfielder’s 120th-minute strike proved decisive as AGMK beat Qatar’s Al Gharafa 1-0 in extra-time in their qualifying playoff in Doha, taking the Uzbek club to the tournament proper for the first time.

The win makes AGMK the seventh team from Uzbekistan to reach that stage, and the first club from the nation to make their group stage debut since PFC Lokomotiv in 2015.

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The rigours of a six-game AFC Champions League campaign will be a new experience for most of Mirjalol Kasimov’s AGMK squad, but Dokić made six appearances for Lokomotiv in the 2019 campaign, and he is eager for his current side to put their best foot forward in Asia’s premier competition.

“I have previously played for Lokomotiv in the AFC Champions League,” the 28-year-old told local media. “I know the value of this race.

“It will not be easy for us, but we will see it through to the end. If we are strong enough to have reached the group stage, then we are ready, and we will show our best in the coming games.”

There is little time for Dokić and AGMK to reflect on their achievement. They will begin their continental campaign in Riyadh next Thursday against one of the competition’s traditional powers Al Hilal SFC, the first of six matches in a centralised group which also contains Shabab Al Ahli and FC Istiklol.

In Riyadh, as in Doha, AGMK will need to overcome the type of conditions they have been unfamiliar with in recent months in Uzbekistan.

Dokić, however, praised his side’s preparation, and looked forward to the challenges to come in the weeks ahead.

“We played a very difficult game (against Al Gharafa). It's not easy to play in such weather,” said Dokić.

“We had been preparing for the match for a long time. Our goal was to get into the group stage, and we did it. Yes, we had many opportunities to score but we could not use them. Importantly, we have achieved our goal.

“We will try to turn this situation into success in the group stage.”

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