Basra: Altyn Asyr head coach Yazguly Hojageldyyew conceded that Air Force Club's experience of having played and won two finals was the major reason why the Turkmenistan club finished as runners-up in the 2018 AFC Cup final at the Basra Sport City on Saturday.
Air Force Club were quick to stamp their mark on the final, leaving Altyn Asyr chasing shadows and once the Iraqi side took the lead through Hammadi Ahmed in the 22nd minute, Hojageldyyew said his side knew it would be difficult to find a way back into the final.
"I congratulate Air Force Club for this achievement, the match was very difficult for us as they were highly motivated," said Hojageldyyew.
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Having said that, Hojageldyyew was confident the experience will only help his team develop, having already created history by becoming the first side from Turkmenistan to play in the AFC Cup final.
"Although we lost, it was good experience to us.
"Air Force Club scored early goal which meant we had to run more to chase the match. We had our chances and failed to score from a penalty."
That miss came seven minutes after Ibrahim Bayesh had doubled Air Force Club's lead in the 57th minute, with Selim Nurmuradov blasting the spot-kick well over the crossbar.
"Maybe that happened because of the lack of experience, as this was the first time for us playing in a major final.
"I am still very proud of my players and thank them for the great effort they have shown in the AFC Cup. Losing to Air Force Club is no shame as they are a big team but we will learn and come back stronger."