Triple treat for FC HTTU hotshot Muhadov

Colombo: Suleyman Muhadov claimed a hat-trick worth remembering on Friday as he scooped up the Abdullah Al Dabal MVP and AFC President’s Cup Top Goalscorer awards following FC HTTU’s victory over Rimyongsu Club of DPR Korea in the AFC President’s Cup final on Friday.

The 20-year-old striker scored what turned out to be the winning goal in the 2-1 triumph for the Turkmen club at Sugathadasa Stadium and in doing so took his tally to a hugely impressive six goals in the competition from just three games.

Muhadov had netted all three goals in his side’s 3-1 win over Manang Marshyangdi of Nepal in the Group A opener on Monday before hitting a brace on Wednesday in FC HTTU’s 2-1 comeback win over hosts Sri Lanka Air Force SC which secured them their place in the final.

The son of former Turkmenistan forward Charyar Muhadov, the youngster was especially delighted at claiming the MVP award, as he walks in familiar footsteps.

“I am always competing with my father and he often jokes with me saying that I’ll never be better than him,” said Muhadov.

“But now I have all these trophies to show him! It was my objective to be top scorer in the tournament but I didn’t expect to earn the MVP award too – it’s really like a dream come true for me.

“Although the group stages were difficult, we all spoke together before the final and agreed that if we continued to play like that we wouldn’t win the cup. So we had good motivation from the very first minute, worked hard and took care of the result.”

However, as FC HTTU coach Rowshen Meredov pointed out, Muhadov’s dream almost became a nightmare as he was close to being ruled out of the final with injury.

“Yes, Muhadov was a fitness concern ahead of the final today and early on in the match he actually pulled up with a problem, too, and I was seriously considering substituting him in the first half,” said Meredov.

“But I believed in him, he’s a special player, so I kept him on the field and he scored a goal – just as he has in every stage of this competition.

“He’s still young and if he keeps working hard I truly believe him will end up in one of the top leagues of Asia.”

Ri Jin-hyok of Rimyongsu claimed runner-up spot on the scorers’ charts with three goals, while team-mates Ri Kwang-hyok, and Pak Song-chol, who also claimed the fair play award, and Kavindu Ishan of Sri Lanka Air Force joint on two goals rounded off the top five.