Emad Mohsin was the star of the night as Iraq's Air Force Club won the 2017 AFC Cup with a 1-0 win over Tajikistan's FC Istiklol on Saturday.
At Hisor Central stadium, the home team suffered heartbreak as the team from Iraq became only the third team in history to successfully defend the AFC Cup.
Though the first half ended goalless, Air Force Club came close to taking the lead in the sixth minute. Syrian midfielder Zaher Al Medani headed against the woodwork from Humam Tareq’s corner from the left, much to his frustration.
FC Istiklol had a chance of their own soon after when Manuchehr Dzhalilov's on-the-turn shot was blocked. He then blazed over an excellent chance from close range as the half wound down.
Eight minutes after the restart, Air Force Club were awarded a penalty when Istiklol captain Fatkhullo Fatkhuloev upended Tareq inside the box. However, Hammadi Ahmed's penalty was saved sensationally by a diving Nikola Stosic.
However, the winning goal came in the 68th minute when Sameh Saeed's cross from the right was laid off for Emad Mohsin by Ahmed. Mohsin made no mistake 12 yards to fire his team into the lead.
Though Istiklol did their best to grab an equaliser, Air Force Club held on to secure the win and back-to-back titles.