Uzbekistan Professional Football League (PFL) champions Pakhtakor concluded their undefeated season with a thrilling victory over crosstown rivals Bunyodkor.
The game began at a slow pace with both teams testing each other and probing for weaknesses. Bunyodkor scored in the 38th minute when a ricochet from Samir Bekric landed in front of Sardor Rashidov, whose beautiful shot beat Pakhtakor goalkeeper Aleksandr Lobanov. Pakhtakor found two great chances at the end of the first half, but both were saved by Pavel Bugalo.
The second half began with another Bunyodkor goal, this time again from Rashidov. But Pakhtakor’s Lions changed their tactics and roared back in the final 15 minutes. In the 79th minute, Djamshid Iskanderov beat the defender and set up Igor Sergeev’s goal to cut the deficit to one. Pakhtakor continued to dominate, with Iskanderov himself taking advantage of confusion in the penalty area to equalize in the 89th minute.
As referee Ravshan Irmatov added five minutes of stoppage time to the second half, Pakhtakor continued to press and Sergeev found his second of the day for a dramatic game-winner.
The stunning finish at Bunyodkor Stadium in front of 6,785 spectators saw Pakhtakor finish the season with a 23-3-0 record, the first Uzbek team to go undefeated since the PFL contracted to 14 clubs in 2009. The 10-time league champions will join Lokomotiv Tashkent in next year’s AFC Champions League.