Berdiev: Nasaf’s AFC Cup masterclass against ATK Mohun Bagan highlights the strength of the Uzbek Super League | Football | New
Karshi: FC head coach Nasaf Ruzikul Berdiev praised the quality of the Uzbekistan Super League after his team emphatically beat ATK Mohun Bagan 6-0 in the inter-zone semi-final of the AFC 2021 Cup at the Markaziy Stadium.
The Indian team’s first visit to Karshi in a decade, ATK Mohun Bagan never looked comfortable, with a goal against his own side of Pritam Kokal in four minutes, setting the stage for a loss described by boss Antonio Lopez Habas as the worst of his career.
Teenage striker Khusain Norchaev continued his fabulous AFC Cup form with a hat-trick in the first half, but Nasaf had winners all over the field as the visitors were unable to face left-back Sherzod Nasrullaev and attacking midfielder Oybek Bozorov, who scored a goal of his own.
Nasaf’s victory, their fifth in a row in this year’s competition, means they are now 90 minutes away from the 2021 AFC Cup Final, with only Lee Man FC of Hong Kong on their way.
This continental success was achieved in contrast to their struggles in the Uzbek Super League, where they are 18 points behind pace in the fifth, and Berdiev believes the national scene deserves to be recognized for its quality.
“(We are facing more competition) In the national championship,” he told reporters at the post-match press conference. “Because the competition in our Super League is very strong.
“Some have said that the level of our championship has gone down, but if you look at this result, the level of our championship is much stronger.
“This is why we are struggling in the Super League”
The star of the night was undoubtedly Norchaev, who increased his score to six in five matches with goals in the 18th, 21st and 31st minutes.
The arrival of fellow striker Andrija Kaluđerović had some questioning whether the 19-year-old would retain his place in the squad, but he was preferred over the former Serbian international in the searing first half that produced five of Nasaf’s six goals, with the two forwards having finally played 45 minutes each after Norchaev left at half-time.
Berdiev said having Norchaev and Kaluđerović at his disposal can only be a positive thing for Nasaf.
“The arrival of Kaluđerović will intensify the competition,” he said.
“Khusain Norchaev is also playing well. He can’t be sent to play in the reserve just because a foreign player has arrived. It’s good to have healthy competition.
While Wednesday’s result left Berdiev and his men dreaming of a second continental trophy, the 6-0 gap was a bitter pill to swallow for ATK Mohun Bagan, whose AFC Cup campaign ended. finished in the most abrupt way.
With the visitors only managing one shot on goal all night, compared to 29 for Nasaf, the night was particularly difficult for ATK strikers Mohun Bagan like Roy Krishna, who said his team were beaten by a superior opponent.
“The result doesn’t lie,” he said. “It’s a learning curve.
“They are a good team and their championship is better than ours for a reason. We have to see this as a learning experience and a good experience for our boys.
“We had a short training (period), but there are no excuses. They were better than us.