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Back to back Afghan titles for Toofan Harirod

Kabul: Toofan Harirod are the Afghan Premier League champions for the second year in a row, after they beat perennial contenders Shaheen Asmayee 1-0 after extra time in the competition’s decider on Friday.

It was far from easy, but Hatam Shirdil’s 95th minute strike proved decisive when the teams had finished goalless after 90 hard-fought minutes in the nation’s capital.

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Toofan’s second consecutive title takes the Western Afghanistan club to three Afghan Premier League titles, one behind Kabul-based Shaheen, who reached the final for the seventh season in a row.

In front of a capacity crowd, both sides came into the match eager to convert their perfect records throughout the tournament into silverware, but despite chances at either end, the first 90 minutes failed to produce a winner.

In the fifth successive Afghan Premier League final to go to extra-time, Shirdil quickly broke the deadlock, outmuscling the Shaheen defence before poking the ball home on the volley from close range.

Emotions boiled over five minutes later when a coming together between two players led to a melee, with Shaheen going down to ten men, and Toofan having a substitute sent from the bench, and the visitors used their numerical advantage to retain their status as champions of Afghanistan.

The Afghan Premier League is a run over a month-long tournament format, with eight teams from around the country competing in a group stage, with the top four advancing to the semi-finals.

Toofan’s win also gives the chance to complete at the Continental level, with their title giving them entry to the qualifying stage of the 2020 AFC Cup.

Photo: Afghan Premier League

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