Domestic Leagues

Central Asia Wrap: Title race in Pakhtakor’s hands, Alay celebrate Kyrgyz Republic Cup win

Bishkek: The odds of a challenger overhauling Pakhtakor as league champions are becoming increasingly slim in Uzbekistan, while Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan’s major domestic competitions come to an end.

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Uzbekistan: Pakhtakor’s title to lose as AGMK fall by the wayside

Pakhtakor didn’t play on Monday night, but they were undoubtedly one of the evening’s big winners, as AGMK – their main challengers for most of the season – slumped to a second successive defeat.

Just 10 days after Mirjalol Kasimov’s AGMK side temporarily crept ahead of the 2019 champions on the table, they now find themselves eight points removed from Pakhtakor who also hold two games in hand, following AGMK’s 1-0 defeat to Kokand-1912 on Monday.

Making matters worse for AGMK was Nasaf’s 2-0 win over Metallurg on Monday evening, helping the Qarshi side rise to second in the standings, one point ahead of AGMK, on the strength of a 10-match unbeaten run.

While Nasaf hone in one a possible return to the AFC Champions League, it would now take a minor miracle for anyone to deny Pakhtakor a second successive title.

Having won 16 of 19 league matches throughout the campaign, and putting six goals past Surkon last time out, the Tashkent club require, at worst, just nine points from their remaining seven fixtures to put themselves out of reach, and into the winners' circle for a second successive season.

Shota Arveladze’s men are widely expected to take another step towards that objective on Wednesday, when they face a struggling Mashal Muborak side who have lost their last six matches.

Kyrgyz Republic: Alay celebrate Kyrgyz Republic Cup success

Kyrgyz Republic’s top level football season has come to an end, with FC Alay Osh shrugging off an indifferent league campaign to win the Kyrgyz Republic Cup final on Thursday.

A solitary goal from Ghanaian midfielder Samuel Inkoom proved decisive in a 1-0 win over Abdysh-Ata, taking the Cup to Osh for the first time since 2013, and it received a warm welcome upon arrival.

Bakytbek Mamatov’s victorious charges were greeted in a welcome ceremony at the club’s home ground, which included an appearance by the City’s mayor, putting the seal on a heavily interrupted, but ultimately successful 2020 season in the nation.

Tajikistan: Two trophies in four days for Ravshan

Tajikistan Cup winners Ravshan Kulob continued their terrific end to 2020 with more silverware, winning the Tajikistan First League title on Wednesday.

Just three days after defeating Khatlon in the cup decider, Ravshan confirmed their status as champions of the country’s second tier by beating Khulbuk 4-2, giving them an unassailable five-point lead over Eskhata Khudjand with one match remaining.

The final round was completed on Sunday, with Ravshan falling to an unexpected 2-0 defeat against Shokhmansur, meaning they finished the campaign two points ahead of Eskhata, with both sides promoted to next season’s Tajikistan Higher League.

Panjsher finished in third place, while Khulbuk’s Avaz Kachinov emerged as the division’s outstanding goal scorer, finding the net 30 times in the 22-round season.

Turkmenistan: Cup race comes into focus as top two power ahead in Yokary Liga

The league season has plenty of time left to run in Turkmenistan, with frontrunners Altyn Asyr and FC Ahal continuing their two-horse race in the most recent round of fixtures.

Defending champions Altyn Asyr prevailed against Nebitchi Balkanabat, although they needed a 91st minute goal from Shamamed Khydyrov to finally secure a 2-1 win, while Ahal won by the same margin in their match against FC Ashgabat.

With seven rounds remaining, and chasing a record seventh league title, Altyn Asyr are nine points clear of Ahal – who hold one game in hand – with third placed Shagadam a distant 18 points off the pace.

Attention will turn to Turkmenistan Cup action this week, with four quarter-finals to be held on Tuesday and Wednesday. Holders Altyn Asyr will be in action against Energetik at Nisa Stadium on Wednesday.

Held in a shortened format, the 2020 Turkmenistan Cup is limited to Yokary Liga sides, with all eight clubs participating.

Having read up on the action from across Central Asia, tell us who impressed you the most over the past week by voting below.

Poll ends at 16:00 (UTC+8) on Friday, October 30.


Photo: FC Alay

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