Uzbekistan manager Vadim Abramov expressed his pride following their stunning 1-0 upset of Japan on Wednesday at Toyota Stadium.
The White Wolves, who were without five suspended regulars, employed a tight defence in addition to well-executed counterattacks in order to upend the hosts and end the third round of qualifiers on top of Group C with 16 points.
"It was a really hard game as expected," Abramov said in the post-game press conference. "Both teams played decent football.
"We counterattacked well and that is why we won."
While Japan seemed to largely control the pace of the match, Uzbekistan frequently ventured on quick counters that sent their opponents scrambling to defend. Aleksandr Shadrin's goal came on one such opportunity after Eiji Kawashima was unable to control the rebound of Bahodir Nasimov's diving header.
"Rather than the football we wanted to play, we played the football that Japan allowed us to play," Abramov explained. "This is not the only game we won away, we are gradually becoming more confident."
With both teams guaranteed to advance to the fourth and final round of qualifying, the third-year manager looked on the win as a learning experience for a mostly unknown group of players.
"There were many young players, so this is a huge boost for our self-confidence," Abramov said. "This result will be remembered in Uzbekistan.
"Had it been a decisive game, they would have played differently. Japan are still the Asian Champions."