Odil Ahmedov and Marat Bikmaev’s goals in the second half steered Uzbekistan to a 2-0 win over Qatar at the National Stadium.Qatar and Uzbekistan, ranked 13th and 14th respectively in Asia, went toe-to-toe in the opening minutes, promising a cagey 90 minutes.
Qatar threatened through Almoez Ali early on but Uzbekistan’s defenders were quick to deny the livewire from making any attempts on goal.
The stalemate continued well into the second half, with skipper Ahmedov breaking the deadlock in 73rd minute as he headed home Akmal Shorakhmedov’s cross from the right flank.
Boosted by the goal and their fans, Uzbekistan - who beat DPR Korea 2-0 last Saturday - grew in confidence and sealed victory in the 86th minute following a counter-attack that saw Ahmedov surging down the middle before passing the ball forward to Bikmaev, who lobbed the ball over Hassan.
The defeat was Qatar's first in four matches, having beaten Ecuador, China PR and Palestine earlier in their buildup to the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019