Kuala Lumpur: A decade after becoming the first Uzbek club to win the AFC Cup, FC Nasaf are title contenders once again.
Now, after six consecutive wins against opponents from Central Asia and beyond, Ruzikul Berdev’s side are one victory away from expanding on their current status of being the only club from Uzbekistan to win a continental trophy, by becoming the first to win two.
Along the way there have been breakout stars, stunning attacking football and thrilling knockout stage encounters, taking the club from the nation's south one step away from another claiming another piece of Asian football history.
As we edge ever closer to Friday’s decider against Muharraq Club of Bahrain, join the-AFC.com in retracing Nasaf’s steps through the 2021 AFC Cup.
Manama: After an enthralling AFC Cup campaign, Bahrain’s Muharraq Club and Uzbekistan’s FC Nasaf will meet in the final, with both clubs aiming to lift the title for the second time at the Sheikh Ali bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Stadium on Friday, November 5, at 7pm (local time).
Both sides are now one match away from repeating their previous feats with Muharraq Club – the only Bahraini club to compete in the AFC Cup – qualifying for the final for a third time, having finished runners-up in 2006 before clinching the title in 2008.
“The biggest moment of my career" - Bošković reflects on Nasaf’s 2011 AFC Cup triumph
Karshi: Ten years after FC Nasaf became the first and only club from Uzbekistan to lift a major continental trophy, and with the club one match away from regaining the AFC Cup title they won in 2011, a star of that decade-old triumph will be among those cheering them on.
At virtually every step of Nasaf’s path to the 2021 AFC Cup Final, there have been references to an achievement from a decade prior.
Full of promising young players still in the early years of what look increasingly likely to be long and fruitful careers, Ruzikil Berdiev’s side have powered their way to Friday’s decider against Bahrain’s Muharraq Club, and it's one they fully expect to win.
Kuala Lumpur: Friday’s 2021 AFC Cup final marks the third time Bahraini powerhouse Muharraq Club feature in the competition’s finale, having last contested it 13 years ago when they defeated Lebanon’s Al Safa to lift a historic title.
Fresh off the disappointment of 2007 AFC Cup group stage exit, Muharraq went into the 2008 edition determined to repeat the heroics that saw them go all the way to the final on their debut in the competition in 2006.
In that exciting, yet ultimately unsuccessful campaign, Muharraq lost to defending champions Al Faisaly 3-0 in the first leg of the final, but attempted a valiant comeback at home in the second leg that was thwarted in the 91st minute by Siraj Al Tall’s goal for the Jordanian side.
Kuala Lumpur: The stage is set for the 2021 AFC Cup Final between Bahrain’s Al Muharraq and FC Nasaf of Uzbekistan on Friday.
The two former winners will square off at Sheikh Ali Bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Stadium, with Al Muharraq looking to add to the title they won in 2008 and Nasaf aiming to win the AFC Cup a decade after being crowned 2011 champions.
Ryan, Taremi, Azmoun and more: Vote for your AFC International Player of the Week!
Kuala Lumpur: With goals, saves and assists by the hatful, Asia’s stars outside the continent continued their fine form with several fine performances in Europe.
Mat Ryan produced an outstanding display of shot-stopping in Spain, a trio of Iranian strikers continued their blistering form, while two of the continent’s rising women’s stars lit up their respective Scandinavian leagues.
But who shone the brightest this week? Study our list of contenders, based on performances from October 26 to November 1, and don’t forget to cast your vote.
Kuala Lumpur: The champions of the previous four editions, the runners-up from 2018 and 2020 plus three sides who have finished third in the AFC U23 Asian Cup will be among the 16 teams battling for honours in Uzbekistan 2022.
The cast was finalised following the conclusion of Groups D and I on Tuesday and fans are in for a treat next June with the cream of Asia's rising stars to feature in the AFC U23 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2022
As the countdown begins, join the-AFC.com as we take a look at the 16 teams who will be vying for the title
Far from perfect, but job done: Vietnam’s Park looks ahead to Uzbekistan 2022
Bishkek: Vietnam head coach Park Hang-seo was pleased to have sealed a place at AFC U23 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2022 despite an imperfect performance against Myanmar at Dolen Omurzakov Stadium on Wednesday.
The 2018 finalists ultimately got the win they needed thanks to Ho Thanh Minh’s 59th-minute header, but there were few moments of relief in a regional battle that went right to the wire.
Following last Thursday’s equally hard-fought 1-0 win over Chinese Taipei, it was the second of two testing encounters in Vietnam’s path to the Finals, but while Park knows his side is capable of more, he revealed his relief that the objective of qualifying had been achieved.