Defending champions Pakhtakor completed the ninth round of the Uzbekistan Super League season with their status as competition leaders intact, but only after surviving a major scare from second placed AGMK in Tashkent on Monday.
In one of the most keenly anticipated fixtures of the season so far, it looked as though the unbeaten Almalyk side would leapfrog the holders when a first-half goal from Turkmenistan’s Arslanmyrat Amanov, coupled with Jovan Djokic 53rd-minute spot-kick, made it 2-0 to the visitors.
But Pakhtakor recovered, pulling a goal back through substitute Igor Sergeev in the 71st minute, before Dostonbek Khamdamov levelled the match three minutes later, ensuring they retained their one-point lead at the top of the table.
Pakhtakor and AGMK remain well clear of the chasing pack, although Andrei Kanchelskis’ Navabhor Namangan side did move to within five points of the summit with their 1-0 victory over winless Qizilqum, also on Monday.
Navbahor’s haul of 17 points from nine matches is currently good enough for third place, one point ahead of a four-team logjam, which includes Kokand 1912, Metallurg, Nasaf and Bunyodkor.
The round ended in yet more home ground frustration for PFC Lokomoitv, who slumped to their third home defeat in the space of a month, losing 1-0 to lowly Mash’al Mubarek on Tuesday.