Sunday, May 22, 2011

Up and running

Neftchi's Marat Adzhiniiazov gave the President's Cup a great start with a wonder strike from 30 yards
The AFC President's Cup got off to a flying start on day 1 yesterday. The main highlight of course was Phnom Penh Crown's 3-0 demolition of Don Bosco from Sri Lanka. This was exactly the kind of result the large Cambodian crowd were hoping for, and they got it. The competition itself started at 1.30pm when the hot favourites, Neftchi from Kyrgyzstan and Bangladesh's Abahani, the most experienced team in the tournament, met under the hot sun. Both coaches after the game commented on the conditions but it was Neftchi who stamped their authority on the match early on and never let go. Marat Adzhiniiazov made an immediate impression with a wonder strike on ten minutes that left his teammates breathless. A corner was cleared to him, some thirty yards from goal, and his first-time strike sailed into the top corner. What a great way to start the tournament. Neftchi, with a few older heads in the team, made it two-nil, two minutes after the half-hour, and effectively sealed the result in their favour. One of two foreign imports in the side, Uzbek Pavel Pavlov showed composure and a neat execution as he rounded off a chipped pass from his fellow striker Talaibek Dzhumataev. It was all over bar the shouting as Nefchi restricted Abahani's possession and snuffed out any goal-threat for the remainder of the first-half and all of the second period. They will certainly be a force to be reckoned with in this competition and they'll meet Don Bosco in their 2nd game on Monday, same time, same place.
Experienced striker Pavel Pavlov netted Neftchi's second goal
The Neftchi line-up who got their tournament off to a flying start with a 2-0 win

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