|   |  KPL Playoff: Dudchenko Double Sinks Makhtaaral as Akzhayik Secure Top-Flight Berth

KPL Playoff: Dudchenko Double Sinks Makhtaaral as Akzhayik Secure Top-Flight Berth

KPL Playoff: Dudchenko Double Sinks Makhtaaral as Akzhayik Secure Top-Flight Berth
Kostyantyn Dudchenko (C) proved a hero for Akzhayik Oral in their 2-1 playoff win over the second-tier side Makhtaaral Atakent (Photo credit: pflk.kz)

The Ukrainian attacker Kostyantyn Dudchenko scored two goals to help Akzhayik Oral to a 2-1 win in the Relegation/Promotion playoff match against Makhtaaral Atakent.

The First League contenders Makhtaaral fought with heart and discipline but were unable to seal their debut in the top-flight in the decisive meeting with Akzhayik.

The West Kazakhstan side entered the game as clear favourites and took the initiative early on yet weren't efficient offensively, lacking dynamism and last pass.

What's more, Makhtaraaral who sat deep in the opening stages, managed to inject some creativity into their performance and found a sensational opener.

Vyacheslav Kotlyar parried Elmar Nabiyev's powerful free-kick but Samit Chulagov, with the goal gaping in front of him, sent home his rebound.

Makhtaaral's surprising lead was sort-lived however, Dudchenko slotting in an Azat Yersalimov cross to finish a fine teamwork.

The leveller came on the stroke of half-time, and Akzhayik, keen to add to their success, kept pressing forward after the restart.

Dudchenko, Ivan Antipov and Michael Odibe all forced Makhtaaral keeper Almaz Khamytbekov into several saves as the KPL side looked for another goal.

Midway through the second period, Dudchenko was denied by the crossbar before the Westerners were awarded a penalty.

Odibe was brought down in the area only for Dudchenko to fail to convert the resulting spot-kick, Khamytbekov brilliantly stopping his effort.

Although Makhtaaral grew in confidence, doing well at the back and trying to combine higher up the pitch, their hopes of promotion were left in tatters late in the game.

Uralsk team managed to score their second as Dudchenko redeemed himself by rising highest in the box to net home a header off a long ball by the same Yersalimov.

With that, Akzhayik will compete in Premier League for the third season in a row, while Makhtaaral have to spend at least another year in the First League.

2017 Kazakhstan Premier League Relegation Playoff

Akzhayik Oral v Makhtaaral Atakent 2-1 (1-1)
09/11/2017, Astana Arena (Astana). Att: 1,900. Ref: Iskakov (Astana).
Akzhayik: Kotlyar, Schmidt, Shabayev, Odibe, Sapanov, Yersalimov, Govedarica, Pertsukh, Zarechny (Tapalov 65), Antipov (Ayaganov 90+2), Dudchenko. HC: Vakhid Masudov.
Makhtaaral: Khamytbekov, Lebedinsky, Vlasichev (Aulabayev 55), Zadorozhny, Nabiyev (Alekperzade 78), Pasechenko. Shubayev, Saurambayev, Karabayev, Chulagov. HC: Kuanysh Karakulov.
Goals: 0-1 Chulagov (35),1-1 Dudchenko (45+1), 2-1 Dudchenko (86).
PM: Dudchenko (77 – saved).
YC: Chulagov (26), Vlasichev (53), Dudchenko (81), Pasechenko (81).

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