Uzbekistan will make their fourth appearance in the Asian Games Knockout Stage after an emphatic 6-0 win over Qatar at the Pakan Sari Stadium.
Qatar and Uzbekistan had met last January in the AFC U23 Championship China 2018, where the West Asians came out the victors with a 1-0 win but it was the White Wolves who went on to clinch their inaugural title, the-afc.com reported.
On the back of a 1-1 draw with Thailand in their opening match, the pressure was on Qatar to win, while Uzbekistan played calmly knowing a second successive win would mean a Round of 16 berth.
In the 37th minute, Odiljon Xamrobekov dispossessed a Qatari defender near the half-line mark and three other Uzbek players surged down the middle. Xamrobekov then passed the ball to Zabikhillo Urinboev, who easily beat Qatari goalkeeper Marwan Badreldin to open the scoring with his third goal of the tournament.
Uzbekistan doubled their lead in the 43rd minute through a free-kick which Ikromjon Alibaev brilliantly curved around the Qatari wall and into the top left corner of the net.
Uzbekistan returned from the break as dominant as ever, and less than 60 seconds into the second half Sidikov’s through pass into the box found Dostonbek Khamdamov, who then sidestepped Tameem Almuhaza and made no mistake from close range, before Sidikov etched his name on the scoresheet courtesy of Urinboev’s ditch pass three minutes later.
There was no stopping the Asian champions as they were given a penalty after goalkeeper Marwan wrongly challenged Jaloliddin Masharipov in the box, and the Pakhtakor Tashkent midfielder duly converted the spot-kick to make it 5-0 in the 53rd minute.
Despite the comfortable advantage, Ravshan Khaydarov’s charges continued to apply pressure on Qatar, who began playing more defensively but in the 74th minute, Meshaal Faraj made a poor pass back to Maran, which was then intercepted by Bobir Abdixolikov who shot the ball into an unguarded goalmouth.
Qatar will need to beat Bangladesh on Sunday if they are to reach the Round of 16, while Uzbekistan stand in Thailand’s way of a place in the next round.