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AFC Challenge Cup

  • 8 March 2012
  • • 14:30
  • • Halchowk Rangasala, Kathmandu
  • Referee: Yousef Al Marzouq
  • • Attendance: 1000

Turkmenistan 3-1 Maldives: Two late goals allow the Green Men to tame the Red Snappers on opening day

Turkmenistan 3-1 Maldives: Two late goals allow the Green Men to tame the Red Snappers on opening day


Turkmenistan dominated proceedings even after going a goal down and two strikes towards the end helped them walk away with all three points deservedly...

In the first encounter of the Challenge Cup 2012 it was Maldives who took on Turkmenistan in a Group A encounter in Kathmandu, Nepal. Turkmenistan, in spite of going behind rather early in the encounter, came from behind and comfortably edged Maldives by putting three goals past them.

The scoring was opened for Maldives by Hasan Adhuham who scored his first international goal for the island nation in the 20th minute. Then Turkmenistan took hold of the proceedings and  scored through Ruslan Mingazov in the 33rd minute, Gahryman Chonkayev in the 78th minute and Arslanmyrat Amanov who put the icing on the cake in the 85th minute.

The Men in Green started the more positive of the two sides in the fray and looked to be on top of the opposition. They won most of the fifty-fifty balls in midfield and kept possession comfortably. However it was the Red Snappers who had the first real chance of the match when Mohammed Umair fired a free-kick that he had himself earned just on the edge of the 18 yard box, wide of the goal. This was after he was clumsily brought down by David Sarkisov in the 16th minute.

Even more surprising was that the Islanders took the lead in spite of being thoroughly outplayed until the 20th minute. Against the run of play, Riley Riwan ran at the opposition defense and his cross into the box could not be dealt with by Umidjan Astanov, with the defender heading the ball onto the path of Adhudam who calmly slotted it past the keeper to put his team one up.

However Yazguly Hojageldiyev's men were not rattled at conceding the goal, and instead redoubled their efforts in search of an equaliser.  Ruslan Mingazov almost found an instant answer when he could have scored from close but missed narrowly. However in the 33rd minute it was Mingazov again who equalized in style after latching onto Amanov's through ball.

At the fag end of the first half, the central Asians could have gone into the lead, seven minutes from the break when captain Berdy Shamuradov's effort was kept out by the heroics of the Maldives keeper, Imran Mohammed.

It was complete dominance from the Green Men in the second half yet again, as they looked hungry to go ahead in the game they deserved to be winning. But it was either last ditch defending or brilliant keeping that kept them from doubling their advantage.

However the Snappers finally snapped in the 78th minute as their stubborn resistance was worn down. Substitute Gahryman Chnkayev struck a wonderful free-kick to beat the outstretched Mohammed from 20 yards to finally put his team ahead. This was after Imran Fazeel had brought down Shohrat Soyunov.

It was further bad news for Istvan Urbanyi's men as they went down to ten men in the 81st minute when Ahmed Tariq was given a straight red. To add to their misery, just four minutes later Amanov confirmed the victory by scoring a brilliant solo goal after beating his marker not once but twice before slotting the ball past the keeper.

With this win, Turkmenistan surge ahead at the top of the table in Group A. Its early days in the tournament but they have really stamped their authority on the whole of the tournament.

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