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Central Asia Domestic Wrap: Stramaccioni departs Esteghlal, more cup success for Pakhtakor

Bishkek: Andrea Stramaccioni has parted ways with Iranian powerhouse Esteghlal just days after the club sealed a return to top spot in the domestic league, while Uzbekistan champions FC Pakhtakor added another trophy with an emphatic League Cup Final win.

Elsewhere, Altyn Asyr geared up for Saturday’s Turkmenistan Cup Final with another league win, while FC Lokomotiv-Pamir sealed a return to the top-flight in Tajikistan.

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IR Iran: Stramaccioni departs as Esteghlal reach summit

Tehran giants Esteghlal finished the week on top of the league table for the first time this season, but their joy was short-lived as Italian head coach Andrea Stramaccioni’s departure was revealed on Sunday.

Stramaccioni - along with technical staff members Marco Caser, Sebastian Eduardo Leto and Omar Danesi – acknowledged his affection for the club’s players and fans in a resignation letter.

The news followed what had been an otherwise positive week for Esteghlal, whose 1-0 win over high-flying Shahr Khodrou, coupled with Sepahan’s 2-2 draw away at Nassaji Mazandaran, saw them climb to 25 points to go from third to first on the league table.

Persepolis earned a 3-0 win away at Zobahan to occupy fourth place on 22 points, with Sanat Naft - who beat Paykan 3-2 - are only behind them on goal difference.

There are several key fixtures lined up for Monday, with Sepahan travelling to take on Shahr Khodrou in a battle of the season’s early pacesetters, while Machine Sazi will meet Tractor, and life after Stramaccioni begins for Esteghlal, who are away to Paykan under interim boss Javad Zarincheh.

Turkmenistan: Altyn Asyr racing to finish line

Altyn Asyr FC’s excellent end to the Yokary Liga season shows no signs of slowing, as the champions-elect moved to 63 points with one league match remaining after a 2-0 win over city rivals Köpetdag.

Altymyrat Annadurdyyev and Merdan Mukhadov scored within three minutes of each other for Altyn Asyr, who have raced clear of competitors FC Ahal (51 points) and Shagadam (49) to seal a sixth successive domestic title in Turkmenistan.

The final piece of silverware in the 2019 season will be up for grabs with Altyn Asyr face Ahal in Saturday’s Turkmenistan Cup Final

Uzbekistan: Six of the best as Pakhtakor complete sweep

FC Pakhtakor completed a dominant domestic season, claiming their third piece of silverware of the campaign with a 6-2 win over AGMK in the country’s inaugural League Cup Final.

Dragan Ćeran and Dostonbek Khamdanov scored two goals apiece for Shota Arveladze’s side, whose 3-2 loss to Bunyodkor in the penultimate round of the Uzbekistan League was their only defeat in any domestic competition in 2019.

Wednesday’s League Cup win follows success in the Uzbekistan Cup Final, also against AGMK, and a commanding return to the top of the Uzbekistan Super League, where Arveladze’s men finished 20 points clear of their nearest rivals PFC Lokomotiv Tashkent.

Tajikistan: Lokomotiv-Pamir seal promotion

Lokomotiv-Pamir secured both the Tajikistan First League title and promotion to next season’s top-flight Tajik League with an emphatic 6-0 win over Shokhmansur.

Dzhonibek Sharipov earned player of the match honours as Lokomotiv piled on four first half goals to finished one point above second-placed Fayzkand.

Dushanbe-based Lokomotiv finished with 61 points from the 26-match league schedule. The First League’s top scorer was 19-year-old Barkchi forward Tohir Malodustov, who bagged 26 goals during the campaign.


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