Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Road to the Finals: Uzbekistan’s impressive showing

Uzbekistan became one of the first nations to qualify for the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2011™ Finals when they recorded their third successive Group C victory.

They joined hosts Qatar and the top three finishers in 2007, fellow qualifiers Syria, who secured their passage on the same day, and 2008 AFC Challenge Cup winners India.

India’s Challenge Cup victory meant Bob Houghton’s side were withdrawn from qualifying Group C leaving just three teams to battle it out for two places with the Uzbeks and the UAE for the tickets to Qatar ahead of ASEAN outsiders Malaysia.

Uzbekistan seized the early initiative when Farhod Tadjiyev’s 30th minute strike gave them a 1-0 win in the UAE before back-to-back 3-1 victories over the Malaysians ensured the Central Asians reached the AFC Asian Cup finals for the fourth consecutive tournament since making their debut in 1996.

A brace by Alexander Geynrikh and a strike by Server Djeparov put them 3-0 ahead at home against Malaysia before Mohamad Zaquan reduced the deficit eight minutes after the hour mark.

Anvar Gafurov opened the scoring for the Central Asians two minutes after the half hour mark in the return fixture at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur while Bakhodir Nasimov doubled the lead two minutes before the hour mark. Baddrol Bin Bakhtiar pulled one back for the hosts but Timur Kapadze made it 3-1 for the Uzbeks.

Uzbekistan’s campaign, however, was to end on a low note when the UAE extracted revenge for their earlier defeat in Sharjah, with the Gulf side’s winning goal coming in the third minute of second-half stoppage-time from Sultan Al Menhali.

Uzbekistan were placed along side hosts Qatar, Kuwait and China in the January
Source: www.the-afc.com Related Posts with Thumbnails




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