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Monday, October 1, 2012
Istiklol win the AFC President's Cup, as expected
Yesterday was spent travelling back from Tajikistan with two stop-overs in China, so didn't see the result of the AFC President's Cup final until today. As expected by everyone, the home team FC Istiklol captured the trophy, as Taiwan Power did last year and as usually happens in this competition. It wasn't all plain sailing though for the near 20,000 delerious Tajik fans as the surprise finalists, Al Amma’ri Youth from Palestine, took the lead after 20 minutes through an Ahmed Keshkesh, at the Central Stadium in Dushanbe. With twenty minutes left on the clock, the Tajik team's best player, Davronjon Ergashev equalised before the home skipper, Dilshod Vasiev put the icing on the cake with the winner with twelve minutes to go. There is now talk of increasing the matches in the final stages with two teams going through to semi-finals from each group and then playing the final. That would certainly maintain the interest within the group matches and give teams two bites at the cherry. The tournament's most valuable player went to Tajik goalkeeper Alisher Tuychiev, who kept out an important Sos Suhana goal-bound effort against Phnom Penh Crown that could've made the difference in our group match, before the home team went onto steam-roller us in the 2nd half.