Ravshan seal fairytale Tajikistan Cup title

Ravshan seal fairytale Tajikistan Cup title

(Photo: Tajikistan FF)

HISOR, Oct. 18, 2020: 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.
Playing behind closed doors, the two sides began at a furious pace with both eager to capitalize 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 favor 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 leveler 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 leveler 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 FF)