Uzbekistan finish top, heartbreak for Indonesia
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) -- Uzbekistan were denied a win but still progressed to the quarter-finals as Group A winners of the AFC U20 Asian Cup™ Uzbekistan 2023 on Tuesday.
A determined Indonesia weathered incessant Uzbekistan attacks to force a 0-0 draw but the result was not enough for the Southeast Asian side to advance, with Iraq pipping them to second spot in the standings following their 1-1 draw with Syria.
Uzbekistan, playing in front of a capacity crowd at the Istiqlol Stadium in Fergana, had their first sight on goal in the fourth minute when Sherzod Esanov set up Abubakir Ashurov just inside the box but the midfielder’s effort was calmly collected by Indonesia keeper Fasya Sumawijaya.
Despite coming under intense pressure, Indonesia continued to deny their opponents with Sumawijaya foiling Po’latkhoja Kholdorkhonov’s effort four minutes later from inside the danger area.
Indonesia wasted a rare opportunity in the 15th minute when Hugo Samir saw his effort from outside the box blocked before skying his follow up.
Uzbekistan showed fluidity in their passing and almost broke through the Indonesian defence in the 18th minute with Abbosbek Fayzullaev seeing his effort denied, while Esanov failed to find the target with his headed effort moments later.
Indonesia, content with defending, struggled to find a way past Uzbekistan as the home side poured forward with Saidafzalkhon Akhrorov threatening in the 30th minute when he collected Fayzullaev’s through ball before seeing his attempt saved as the teams headed into the break on level terms.
Indonesia, against the run of play, almost found the back of the net when Robi Darwis floated a dangerous ball into Muhammad Ferarri’s path in the 54th minute but the defender’s headed effort was saved by Uzbekistan custodian Otabek Boymurodov.
Uzbekistan, who needed just a draw to advance into the quarter-finals, continued to be wasteful in front of goal with Kholdorkhonov seeing his long-range effort saved in the 70th minute, with Zafarmurod Abdirahmatov and Fayzullaev also missing the target with subsequent attempts.
Indonesia were left off the hook in the 85th minute when Shakhriyor Jabborov set up Umarali Rahmonaliyev nicely outside the box but the forward smashed his effort against the bar.
Uzbekistan will now turn their attention to the quarter-final against Australia, with the winners not only staying on course for the title but also sealing a place in the FIFA U20 World Cup Indonesia 2023.