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Istiklol hero Dzhalilov dedicates AFC Champions League triumph over Shabab Al Ahli to Tajikistan

Riyadh: Match winner Alisher Dzhalilov dedicated FC Istiklol’s vital 2021 AFC Champions League win over Shabab Al Ahli Dubai to Tajikistan. 

Dzhalilov struck in the last minute of stoppage time to secure all three points for Istiklol, keeping the Tajikistan champions at the top of Group A with 10 points, with the captain also praising his teammates on following their game plan.

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“I want to dedicate this victory to Tajikistan, and thanks to the team for doing what they needed to do and for listening to what the coach had planned for today,” said Dzhalilov, who opened his account in the continental tournament with the winning goal.

“Shabab Al Ahli kept attacking, even in the final minutes of the match. I didn’t think that I would score today, but I want to thank God for this win today."

2021 AFC Champions League: Shabab Al Ahli Dubai 0-1 FC Istiklol

The result sets Istiklol up nicely for the crucial Matchday Six tie with Uzbekistan's AGMK FC, where a win would assure them a place in the Round of 16 in their debut AFC Champions League season

“This match will help motivate us for our final match, but it doesn’t matter who we go up against. We play every match like we’re playing them for the first time.”

Shabab Al Ahli head coach Mahdi Ali was despondent after the defeat, which eliminated the Emiratis’ chances of progressing to the knockout stage.

“I want to share my appreciation to the players’ for the match, they did really well. We played 90 minutes across the pitch but Istiklol’s defence was too good,” said Ali.

“Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but sometimes luck doesn’t favour you. We attempted all 90 minutes to score but weren't lucky.”

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