It was a disappointing start to the Asian Cup for hosts Qatar as they were outplayed and beaten by a slick Uzbek outfit...
Having had the better of the first-half, the Uzbeks turned their superiority into goals in the second session with Odil Akhmedov and Server Djeparov ensuring the perfect start for Vadim Abramov's side.
However, it was Qatar who had a chance to take the lead inside five minutes. Hussein Yasser's cross from the left-hand side was headed wide at the back post by Fabio Cesar. Uzbekistan then had an excellent opportunity of their own barely a minute later when Djeparov beat the offside trap down the right before cutting the ball back to Alexander Geynrikh who smashed the ball against the post.
Soon after, it was Geynrikh who breached the non-existent offside trap down the right and he laid the ball on for Maksim Shatskikh at the back post. The Arsenal Kiev striker slid in but his effort was kept out by the imposing figure of Burhan.
The Qatari goalkeeper did not cover himself in glory on 18 minutes when he spilled the ball across goal but Jasur Khasanov took too long and his shot deflected behind for a corner.
Despite Uzbekistan's clear superiority throughout the opening stages, the host nation showed resolve to claw their way back into the game. Not only did they begin to tighten up defensively but they began to show more fluency in their passing game. Fabio Cesar, a talismanic figure for the side, struck the post with a wonderful curling free-kick seven minutes before the half-time interval.
The hitherto solid Uzbek defence received a rude awakening less than three minutes into the second period when Ismailov's poor clearance put his side in trouble. Sebastian Soria beat goalkeeper Nesterov to the ball but Sakhob Juraev came to the rescue with a vital clearance in what was his last action before going off with an injury sustained for his troubles.
Impressive winger Khasanov then stung the fingertips of Burhan when he let fly from 25 yards on his trademark left peg, forcing the goalie to make use of every inch of his 6ft 4in frame.
As opening goals to international tournaments go, the effort from Odil Akhmedov just before the hour has to be right up there with the best. He stunned the home crowd with a magnificent swerving shot on his right foot, which cannoned off the underside of the bar and into the net beyond a helpless Qasem Burhan.
Uzbekistan had an excellent chance to double their lead and put the game to bed on 72 minutes when substitute Tursunov raced clear down the right but he mistakenly opted to go for the near-post shot and Bursan was able to pull off a relatively straightforward stop.
Uzbekistan put the game beyond the home nation in the 77th minute after an atrocious mistake at the back from the Qataris. Khalfan Ibrahim showed a lack of awareness as he played the ball across the eighteen-yard line and as his fellow defenders went asleep, cultured midfielder Server Djeparov drilled the ball home past Burhan with aplomb. The goal sparked a mass exodus from the stands
The introduction of Qatari captain and leading scorer Youssef Ahmed lifted his side and he forced a decent save from Nesterov with a low right-footed drive on 82 minutes.
Both these sides are back in action next Wednesday with Uzbekistan taking on Kuwait while Qatar face China.