Central Asia Domestic Wrap: Cup Final heroics in Uzbekistan, Kyrgyz Republic
Bishkek: FC Pakhtakor cruised past AGMK in Uzbekistan, while Neftchi Kochkor-Ata shocked FC Dordoi in Kyrgyz Republic as two of the region’s major domestic cup finals were held over the weekend.
Elsewhere, Payam Niazmand set a goalkeeping record as Sepahan went clear on top in Islamic Republic of Iran, while Mekan Ashyrov scored a hat-trick for Altyn Asyr, who moved closer to a sixth straight league title in Turkmenistan.
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Ćeran the hat-trick hero as Pakhtakor complete domestic double
Tashkent: Serbian star Dragan Ćeran scored a brilliant hat-trick as FC Pakhtakor completed a domestic double by lifting the Uzbekistan Cup, defeating defending champions AGMK 3-0 at Lokomotiv Stadium on Saturday.
Čeran scored the first half-opener and two more after the interval to guide Pakhtakor to a record-extending 12th Uzbekistan Cup and continue a stunning individual campaign, which has also produced 22 goals in 21 league appearances.
AGMK had been hoping to qualify for the Preliminary Stage of the 2020 AFC Champions League with victory in the match, but Mirdjalal Kasimov’s side were unable to repeat their 3-1 win from the 2018 decider.
Pakhtakor’s place in next year’s ACL has already been secured by virtue of their runaway Uzbekistan Super League title win.
Jalal-Abad: FC Dordoi’s bid for a domestic treble came unstuck as Neftchi Kochkor-Ata earned a surprise 1-0 win in the Kyrgyzstan Cup Final on Sunday.
Azamat Omuraliev’s 64th-minute strike proved decisive as Nematjan Zakirov’s side – who sit 20 points behind Dordoi in the Kyrgyz Premier League – won the national cup for the first time in their history,
While Neftchi’s win is set to give them a berth in the 2020 AFC Cup Preliminary Stage, Dordoi will now need to complete their bid for a second successive league title to join them on the Continental stage.
Ho Chi Minh: Thailand beat Indonesia 5-0 to successfully defend their AFF Futsal Championship title at the Phu Tho Stadium on Sunday.
Thailand entered the fray as favourites, having won the tournament in every appearance since 2001, while Indonesia, who narrowly beat Myanmar 4-3 in the semi-finals, were aiming for an upset, setting the stage for a thrilling match.
AFC to invest in new era of national team and club competitions
Da Nang: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) will mark the start of a new era of national and club team competitions by further investing in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup and the AFC Champions League – one of the world’s most prestigious Continental competitions.
At the second AFC Executive Committee meeting of the 2019-2023 cycle, chaired by longest-serving AFC Vice President and FIFA Council member, Saoud Al Mohannadi, in the absence of President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, it was decided to grow the two competitions.
From the 2021 season, the AFC Champions League will be expanded to 40 clubs with an extra group of four being added in both the East and West zones and further growing the reputation of one of the richest Continental club competitions in the world.
AFC Executive Committee approves Indian football roadmap
Da Nang: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Executive Committee meeting for the first time in Vietnam today endorsed the roadmap for Indian football as a plan to grow the sport in the world’s second most populous country.
The endorsement comes shortly after the AFC held a summit in Kuala Lumpur on October 14 and involved representatives of both the Indian Super League (ISL) and the I-League as well as the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and IMG-Reliance.
The roadmap for the reform process is for the club game in the country – with the ISL being recognised as the top league in India starting from this 2019-2020 season.
The ISL League winners would also be entitled to a play-off place in the AFC Champions League and the I-League champions would take a place in the AFC Cup in ‘a package that takes into consideration the recommendations of the FIFA/AFC report of 2017.’