AFC Futsal Asian Cup™ Kuwait 2022: Uzbekistan power past Turkmenistan
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) -- Uzbekistan were in their element as they kicked off their AFC Futsal Asian Cup™ Kuwait 2022 Group B campaign with an 8-0 win over Turkmenistan on Tuesday.
The victory gives four-time runners-up Uzbekistan an early advantage in the race for a knockout stage berth, with Bahrain and Tajikistan also in the group, the-afc.com reported.
Turkmenistan kicked off the match at the Saad Al Abdullah Hall brightly, forcing an early save out of Uzbekistan goalkeeper Ravshan Elibaev but then had to go into defensive mode as the Uzbeks took control.
Turkmenistan succumbed to Uzbekistan’s pressure in the sixth minute with Kadyr Berenov losing possession in his own half, allowing Ilkhomjon Khamroev to send the loose ball to Davron Choriev, who tapped home from close range.
Guvanch Kanayev’s Turkmenistan side carved most of their opportunities from counter-attacks and set-pieces, with Berenov and Mulkaman Annaguliyev denied by the left post in the eighth and ninth minutes respectively.
As Turkmenistan pushed up in search of the equaliser, Uzbekistan punished them with a counter-attacking move of their own in the 13th minute with Mashrab Adilov doubling their lead, before Ikhtiyor Ropiev made it 3-0 to secure Bakhodir Akhmedov’s side a comfortable lead heading into the break.
Uzbekistan started the second half as aggressively, and widened their lead two minutes into the restart with Elbek Tulkinov forcing a parry from Turkmenistan keeper Meretgeldi Bayramov, leaving Adilov to send the rebound home with a brilliant strike from outside the box.
Despite Turkmenistan trying to fight back, Uzbekistan were simply on another level as they went on a goal rush with Dilshod Rakhmatov etching his name on the scoresheet from a corner kick set-piece in the 30th minute.
Ropiev then scored from nearly 20 metres out to place Uzbekistan six goals up in the 33rd minute.
A series of passes baffled the Turkmenistan defence, leaving Shakhram Fakhriddinov with the simple task of tapping in from close range a minute later with Akbar Usmonov then closing out a phenomenal opening day victory for Uzbekistan with his effort 20 seconds from time.
Uzbekistan will go up against Tajikistan on Thursday, while Turkmenistan face Bahrain in the day’s earlier match.