Thu, 28 Oct, 2021
Dushanbe: FC Istiklol coach Mubin Ergashev was left lamenting his team’s inability to convert their chances after Johor Darul Ta’zim claimed the AFC Cup with a 1-0 win over the Tajik side on Saturday.
Argentinian midfielder Leandro Velazquez scored the only goal of a game dominated by the Tajik side in front of their home fans, but Istiklol squandered a number of opportunities to put themselves on the score sheet.
“Unfortunately we lost the final at home,” said Ergashev. “We tried to give happiness to our fans, but we couldn't win the game.
“We began the match well and created some chances, but if you don’t score you can’t win the match. We had to take our chances.”
Istiklol were in the ascendancy for much of the game and had the better of the chances in the opening quarter before Johor scored in the 23rd minute when Velazquez capitalised on the home side’s inability to clear Safiq Rahim’s corner.
Ergashev’s team continued to push for a way through but, despite their increasing desperation, they were incapable of finding a way through against a determined Johor defence.
“We controlled the game in the first half, but we conceded a goal after a corner kick,” said Ergashev. “We lost attention at that moment. Then we continued to make attacks.
“It’s a pity that we couldn’t score and level the scores. We missed a lot of chances. We had studied Johor Darul and we knew their capabilities.”
Ergashev was left ruing his side’s misfortune as Istiklol sought to add the AFC Cup title to the AFC President’s Cup crown they claimed back in 2012.
“I think my team played good football, but you also need luck in football,” he said. “We didn’t give our opponent many chances, but they scored the winning goal.
“It is a very difficult time for us. The team had great motivation and I think we have improved this season anyway. I congratulate Johor Darul on the title.
“We will try to participate well in the next season in Asian club competitions and this was a good experience for Istiklol.”