Soccer-Kazakh top flight resumes again after second break due to COVID-19

Aug 18 (Reuters) - Kazakhstan’s top soccer league resumed play again on Tuesday, 1-1/2 months after being suspended for a second time over the Central Asian country’s government’s lockdown due to a rise in COVID-19 cases.

Kairat moved five points clear at the top of the standings after two goals from Nuraly Alip and a late strike by substitute Artur Shushenachev secured a 3-0 victory over winless Caspiy Aktau.

Brazilian striker Vagner Love, who joined Almaty-based Kairat, the leading Kazakh side during the Soviet era, on a six-month contract in July, made his debut when coming on as a second-half substitute.

The two-times Kazakh champions are top with 12 points from five games, five points ahead of Astana, who have played three games. Astana won six titles in a row from 2014-19.

Two more matches will take place on Tuesday, with all matches played behind closed doors due to the pandemic.

The coronavirus outbreak has infected more than 103,000 people and killed more than 1,260 in the Central Asian country. (Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Hugh Lawson)