Asian Cup

Uzbekistan 2 Jordan 1 – Asian Cup: Quarter Finals

Although Uzbekistan started strong favourites only for a quick start to the second half separate the two teams, Jordan probably left it too late before having a go at the Uzbek defence. They will be happy with their tournament overall, and in the end the best team is in the semi-finals.

Alexander Geynrikh was the first player to try his luck from distance, his 20 yard effort was easily saved by Amer Shafi, Geynrikh had a good game, really keeps the Uzbek team ticking over, most good moves come through him, and he’s not shy to try his luck from distance.

Jordan nearly upset the apple cart in the 26th minute, with a free kick from the left it looked like Ahmad Abdelhalim was lining up a cross into the box, he must have noticed Ignatiy Nesterov was creeping slightly to his left because he tried his luck. His right footed shot had Nesterov scrambling across the goal, but he recovered in time to tip the shot in the air Server Djeparov then had to acrobatically clear the ball off the line.

Hasan Abdel Fattah was next to come close, Suliman Al Salman crossed from the right, the ball was deftly chested into Fattah’s path, his shot was hard and low but not on target, a warning to the Uzbek’s that they were in a game. It wasn’t till near the end of the half till the favourites troubled the Jordanian goal.

It was Geynrikh trying his luck from distance again, but he would get in the box seconds before the half time whistle, the cross came in low from Sanjar Tursunov and Geynrikh got his toe to it, Shafi made a great save and the defence managed to scuttle the ball clear.

Whatever manager Vadim Abramov said to his team at half time obviously worked, with only minutes gone Uzbekistan had a free kick, Djeparov stood over it, dummied his run up, stepped back then fired in the cross. The defence must have froze because Ulugbek Bakaev somehow managed to find himself six yards from goal and he wasn’t going to miss from there, he applied the headed finish and the Uzbeks had the lead.

Two minutes later the game was all but over, Geynrikh played the ball wide to Timur Kapadze and with a lovely near post cross Bakaev finished wonderfully for his and Uzbekistan’s second, the plucky Jordan side didn’t know what had hit them, they had done a great job in the first half and now their dreams were dashed in two minutes.

With thirty minutes to go they had a lifeline. Jordan won a corner, everyone pilled forward, played high into the box Fattah won the header, saved by Nesterov but he could only parry it to Bashar Bani Yaseen and he had the easiest of finishes to bring his team back into this match…game on!

Well not really, in trying to find the equaliser they left themselves susceptible at the back, Uzbekistan were happy to punish them on the break. With two close chances, the best fell to #17 who’s shot went just wide. Jordan couldn’t find the levelling goal and Uzbekistan had the quality to see out the game.

The better team won in the end but it seems Jordan did have the quality to trouble their opponents just couldn’t use it to their advantage.

Uzbekistan coach Vadim Abramov was full of praise for goal hero Bakaev

“He is big player with plenty of experience, I know him very well,” said Abramov.

“I gave him a chance and he scores two goals. He has made history and everybody now knows his name in Uzbekistan.

“In Uzbekistan, I think everybody is very, very happy because we are going to the next round but I also think that people can see now that Uzbekistan can play good football.”

Jordan coach Adnan Hamad feels his players can hold their heads high.

“I am very proud of my team and the players,” he said.

“Our team lost concentration in the first five minutes of the second-half but after that, when we scored, we got back on track and almost equalised.

“I have to admit that fatigue and exhaustion were there because we’ve played three matches and also we were missing four regular players. This impacted our performance but we exit with heads held high and the players have served their country.”

Uzbeksitan will take on Australia on Tuesday in the Khalifa International Stadium for a place in the final.


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