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Hisor: Air Force Club striker Emad Mohsin labelled his side’s 2017 AFC Cup title win “a historic achievement” as the Iraqi club successfully defended their title.

Mohsin netted the winner as Air Force Club overcame Tajikistan’s Istiklol at Hisor Central Stadium in Saturday’s final.

His third goal of the campaign finished a swift attacking move with a left-footed half-volley to hand the team a valuable 1-0 victory.

The visitors were on the backfoot for extended spells of the first half and defended for their lives before turning the tie around after the restart and dominating the second half.

Their attacking intent was rewarded by Mohsin’s 68th minute strike after club captain Hammadi Ahmed had missed a penalty kick 14 minutes earlier.

“We were not so good in the first half, but after the break we regrouped and put in a much better performance. We missed a penalty kick but eventually scored the all-important goal,” commented Mohsin on his team’s performance on the night.

“It is a historic achievement for us and for Iraqi football. I am delighted that we were able to bring joy to our fans back in Iraq.”

The striker paid tribute to his teammates and coaching staff, reflecting on a long season that culminated in a second AFC Cup triumph for Air Force Club.

“We put a lot of effort throughout the season, all of us did; the players, the coaching staff and even the fans who travelled to support us. This title is the fruit of everyone’s efforts.”

Defender Sameh Saeed put in a solid performance at right-back, winning five duels and helping keep Istiklol’s attackers at bay.

He credited coach Hussam Al Sayed for the upturn in the team’s performance after a slow start to the game

The 25-year-old admitred his side felt the pressure, facing Istiklol in front of 20,000 Tajik fans in Hisor and playing on an unfamiliar pitch.

“We came into the match under a lot of pressure, and we were also not used to playing on artificial grass, so it took some time to get used to it,” explained Saeed.

“Despite missing a penalty and many more chances, we followed the coach’s instructions and put in a great performance befitting the name of Air Force Club."

“Congratulations to all Iraqi people and to Air Force Club fans everywhere. We earned this one.”


Photos: Lagardère Sports