- Uzbekistan’s former winners ride on Norchayev’s 13-minute hattrick to defeat the Kolkata giants in the AFC Cup inter-zonal semis.
ATK Mohun Bagan got a taste of mid-level Asian competition and found they don’t like it. At a raucous Markaziy Stadium in Karshi, Uzbekistan on Wednesday, FC Nasaf carved open Antonio Lopez Habas’ team 6-0, five goals coming in the first half.
At the single leg AFC Cup inter-zonal semi-final against the former champions, the Kolkata giants conceded a fourth minute self-goal when Carl McHugh’s header off a corner-kick hit Pritam Kotal’s back and went in. Mayhem followed with 19-year-old Husain Norchayev notching up a 13-minute hattrick (18th, 21st and 31st) with close-range finishes. Oybek Bozorov missed a penalty in the 42nd minute, his shot thudding into the horizontal, but the nippy left-side midfielder scored in the first minute of first half added time. Donier Nazrullaev made it 6-0 in the 71st minute.
There could have been more had Bozorov not struck the upright and substitute Andrija Kaluderovic not directed a free header to goalkeeper Amrinder Singh. In the 80th minute, Nazrullaev ballooned over from close.
ATK Mohun Bagan’s famed forwards Roy Krishna, David Williams and Manvir Singh hardly got into the game and in his first game, Finnish international Joni Kauko was a peripheral presence.
With a loud crowd drumming up enthusiasm, Nasaf sped off the blocks leaving ATK Mohun Bagan gasping in their first match since August 24 when they cleared the group stage of this competition. Nasaf have played 18 games in the Uzbekistan Super League which began in March.