Afc under-17 championship: Uzbekistan win opener

Kathmandu, November 13:

Uzbekistan defeated Kyrgyzstan 2-0 in the opening match of the AFC Under-17 Championship qualifying tournament here at Dasharath Stadium today.

Nepal is the third team in the three-team Group F and the winner, along with top teams from other 14 groups and hosts Bangladesh, will qualify for the round of 16. Nepal will play Kyrgyzstan on Tuesday and take on Uzbekistan on Thursday.

After a goalless first half that saw Uzbekistan creating more opportunities than their opponents, Dostonkhon Abdurakhmonov put the Uzbeks ahead in the 75th minute with a close range shot from the crowded D-box after Kyrgyzstan goalkeeper Stanislav Mahotin failed to gather the ball.

Alisher Azizov put the issue beyond doubt in the 89th minute with a powerful strike from the edge of the penalty area following a cross from substitute Uchkunbek Umaraliev.

Kyrgyzstan almost took lead in the 12th minute but Uzbekistan goalkeeper Roman Smirnov saved Mirlan Murzaev’s powerful strike from 30 yards. Two minutes later, Sukhrob Berdiev should have scored for Uzbekistan but he failed to connect properly following Alisher Azizov’s cross from right flank.

Uzbek striker Berdiev muffed up an easy scoring chance in the 22nd minute when he failed to score in one-to-one situation with Kyrgyzstan custodian Mahotin. In the 32nd minute, Uzbekistan was unlucky as Alisher Azizov’s powerful strike from 30 yards hit the post.

Uzbekistan’s English coach Desmond Donaldson Bulpin was happy with his boys’ performance and was confident of reaching the finals. “It was a very good game, and we will try to attack and win our next match,” he said. Kyrgyzstan coach said that the match was tough for his players. “Uzbekistan’s players have been playing for long time and they were very good,” he said. “We will prepare hard for the next match and we hope to make it to the finals,” he added.