Dushanbe: FC Istiklol won Tajikistan’s Super Cup for the 10th time on Saturday, beating Tajikistan Cup winners Ravshan Kulob 2-0 at Hisor Central Stadium.
Newly arrived Dutch signing Huseyin Dogan made an instant impact for the Dushanbe side, scoring on debut in the 56th minute, with Alisher Dzhalilov adding the second goal four minutes later.
Istiklol have made the Super Cup their own over the last decade, winning the trophy 10 times in 11 seasons, with Saturday’s triumph their fourth in a row in the curtain-raising event.
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Istiklol boss Vitaliy Levchenko named a strong starting line-up featuring a raft of new signings including Dogan and Japanese midfielder Ryota Noma, but Rasvhan – who won the Tajikistan Cup as a second-tier outfit in 2020 – held firm to reach half-time without conceding.
The breakthrough came thanks to a moment of inspiration from Dogan, who received the ball on the flank and cut inside two Ravshan defenders before firing the ball beyond goalkeeper Rustam Rizoev with his right foot from 15 yards, thrilling the 5,500 in attendance.
That momentum generated by Dogan’s brilliance carried over into Isiklol’s second, an equally superb effort from captain Alisher Dzhalilov, who followed up his Player of the Match performance for Tajikistan in the international break with a searing 25-yard strike at the hour mark.
Istiklol’s latest trophy comes less than two weeks before the club’s first ever appearance in the AFC Champions League group stage, with Levchenko’s men to begin their Group A campaign against Shabab Al Ahli Dubai in Riyadh on April 15.
Promoted to the top flight as Tajikistan First League winners last season, Ravshan's players also have a continental campaign to look forward to. They’ll face FC Ahal of Turkmenistan and Kyrgyz Republic champions FC Dordoi in Group E of the AFC Cup in May.
Photo: Tajikistan Football Federation
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