Fource is with the excellent Uzbekis
Uzbekistan confirmed their spot in the Asian Cup 2019’s round of 16 after recording an emphatic 4-0 win against Turkmenistan in a Group F tie on Sunday.
The win, coupled with Japan’s 1-0 triumph over Oman in the day’s earlier match, ensured the Samurai Blue and Uzbekistan the top two spots in the group with six points each, with their clash on Thursday to determine who wins the group.
Turkmenistan, meanwhile, will face Oman with both teams needing the three points to stand a chance of progressing to the knockout stage as one of the four best third-placed teams.
Uzbekistan were all business from the first blow of the whistle with Dostonbek Khamdamov’s header hitting the ground before just rebounding over the crossbar in the fifth minute.
Uzbekistan continued to push and a counter-attack in the 16th minute caught the Turkmenistan backline off-guard as skipper Odil Akhmedov led the charge, with a string of passes ending with Javokhir Sidikov sliding the ball into an unguarded goalmouth.
Eight minutes later, Turkmenistan lost the ball in midfield with Otabek Shukurov sending a through pass down the middle to Eldor Shomurodov, whose right-footed effort made its way past ‘keeper Mammet Orazmuhammedov.
Five minute before the break, Gurbangeldi Batyrov’s poor clearance allowed Jaloliddin Masharipov to let fly a half-volley to make it 3-0.
Less than two minutes later, Masharipov turned provider with his pass finding Shomurodov, and the 23-year-old forward displayed excellent footwork before scoring his second of the night.
The onus was on Yazguly Hojageldiyev’s side to reduce their deficit, but the White Wolves continued pressing, forcing Orazmuhammedov to make a double save in the 55th minute.
Uzbekistan next face Japan at Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain on Thursday.
Elsewhere, Almoez Ali was the star of the show on Sunday afternoon as he scored four and set up a fifth in Qatar’s 6-0 defeat of North Korea as Felix Sanchez’s side moved to the top of the Group E standings and into the knockout stage.
Pile on: Uzbekistan celebrate.