FK Aktobe won the Kazakh Premier League title for the third time in succession after a 5-2 home victory over FC Tobol Kostanay in the penultimate round of fixtures on Thursday.
Although it did not match the drama of last season's championship, when Aktobe and Tobol faced off in the final game to decide the title's destination, the two sides again produced a thrilling game. Murat Tleshev opened scoring early on for Aktobe, before Vladimir Bairamov equalised on the hour mark. With ten minutes left, it was still only 1-1, but then came a flurry of goals with Sergei Strukov putting the champions back in front only for Ruslan Baltiyev to level matters once again.
However, the hosts struck three times in the last few minutes to secure what proved to be an emphatic win and their fourth title overall. Aktobe captain Samat Smakov said: "we are so happy to win the gold medal again." Midfielder Marat Khayrullin added: "Now we have to win the Cup to repeat the result of last season." Tobol defender Farkhadbek Irismetov conceded that the best team had won. "Aktobe really were strongest this season," he said. "We just couldn't match them this campaign."
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