Domestic Leagues

Ravshan seal fairytale Tajikistan Cup title

Hisor: Second tier Ravshan Kulob completed a stunning Tajikistan Cup triumph, defeating FC Khatlon 1-0 in the final at Central Stadium in Hisor on Sunday.

A second-half penalty kick from Daler Shomurodov proved decisive for Gayratali Mirakhmedov’s side, with Khatlon squandering a number of late chances to force the decider to extra time.

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Playing behind closed doors, the two sides began at a furious pace with both eager to capitalise on the rare opportunity of appearing in a major final which didn’t feature the country’s dominant club, Istiklol.

Ravshan, who stunned many by knocking Istiklol out of the competition in last month’s quarter-finals, had moments of promise in attack, but neither side managed to get on top in a relatively even opening period.

The pendulum swung dramatically in Ravshan’s favour just after the hour mark, when Khatlon’s Muhammad Naskov was adjudged to have committed a foul just inside the penalty area, with Shomurodov stepping up and, after much debate, guiding the spot-kick beyond Godson Quaye in the 67th minute.

Ravshan continued to threaten in the minutes that followed, but Khatlojn’s desperate search for a leveller could, and perhaps should have borne fruit.

Sorbon Avgonov sent a volley narrowly across the face of goal in the 76th minute, before Parviz Baki-Akhunov squandered an even better chance, missing the target with a free header with four minutes remaining.

Goalkeeper Quaye joined the hunt for a leveller in the dying moments, but Ravshan held firm, emerging victorious on cup final day for the first time since 1994.

A two-time league-winning powerhouse in the early 2010s before being relegated in 2016, Ravshan’s win continues a dream 2020 campaign which has already seen the club seal promotion back to the top flight of Tajik football for next season.

Photo: Tajikistan Football Federation

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