2011 Asian Cup: Know Your Rivals - How Did Uzbekistan Qualify?

'White Wolves' qualified with ease....
Continuing with Goal.com’s series of looking back at how each of the 16 teams qualified for the 2011 Asian Cup, Amoy Ghoshal reviews the qualification campaign of two-time quarter-finalists Uzbekistan.

Important Victory Against UAE

Uzbekistan was drawn in Group C, which originally had four countries with India, UAE and Malaysia being the other teams. But with the Indian national team qualifying by winning the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup, the group was reduced to three teams as India was not replaced. With two out of three teams progressing, all three nations had a great chance of qualifying. However on paper, Uzbekistan and UAE were the favourites. With UAE winning in Malaysia 5-0, the Uzbeks were looking for some sort of a result when they faced the Arab nation in Sharjah. Uzbekistan produced a battling display to record a narrow 1-0 win with striker Farhod Tadjiyev scoring the winner in the first half.

Djeparov Scored Against Malaysia

Double Over Malaysia Confirms Qualification

Uzbekistan next hosted rock bottom Malaysia in Tashkent and registered a convincing 3-1 win. Striker Alexander Geynrikh bagged a brace while the other goal was scored by 2008 AFC Asian Footballer of the Year, Server Djeparov. The Uzbeks recorded another 3-1 win in the return leg to become one of the first nations to qualify for Qatar 2011.

Qualified With Ease

Runners-up In The Group

With three wins in as many matches, Uzbekistan was sitting on top of the group and only needed a draw against UAE at home to win the group. For long periods in the match it looked like it would end in a goalless draw as both defences were on top. But young UAE midfielder Sultan Bargash scored a dramatic winner in second half stoppage time. Thus Uzbekistan had to settle for second spot as UAE finished with a better goal difference.

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