Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Neftchi one of the six

Aleksandr Beldinov netted Neftchi's 2nd and decisive goal
Qualification for the final round of matches, at a location and date to be decided by the Asian Football Confederation in due course, will see Phnom Penh Crown lining up with five other teams in the AFC President's Cup finals. Joining them will be Neftchi from Kyrgyzstan, who Crown play tomorrow in the final Group A qualifying round game, as well as reigning champions Yadanarbon (Myanmar), Istiklol (Tajikistan), Taiwan Power Company (Chinese Taipei) and FC Balkan (Turkmenistan). The qualifiers from Groups B and C were already decided before the Group A matches got underway. The game played before Crown's 1-nil victory over Abahani Limited from Bangladesh, saw Neftchi, as expected, overcome Don Bosco (Sri Lanka), though their margin of victory wasn't as high as I expected. Nevertheless, Neftchi join Crown as one of two qualifiers. Though the game was pretty one-sided, with Neftchi leading 1-0 at the interval, and even though they went down to 10-men they netted a second, before Don Bosco finally woke up and offered up some resistance. Pavel Pavlov gave Neftchi the lead on 24 minutes, finishing off a right-wing cross from Marat Adzhiniiazov. Don Bosco saw a glimmer of hope when Nipuna Bandara broke through but he rolled his shot against the foot of the upright. Two tackles and two yellow cards for Neftchi's Ahrorjon Rakhmanjonov within eight minutes of the restart saw the Kyrgyz team reduced to ten men but they were still too powerful for Don Bosco, and scored a second goal on 65 minutes. Roman Ablakimov's cross fell to the feet of Aleksandr Beldinov and he made no mistake from five yards out. Don Bosco stepped up their efforts in the last twenty minutes and twice Bandara went close but they didn't have the firepower to trouble Neftchi, who ran out 2-0 winners and booked their qualification place in the competition finals.
The Neftchi team that beat Don Bosco 2-0 to qualify for the finals
Don Bosco went down to their 2nd defeat of the group series

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