Uzbekistan kicks off AFC U20 Asian Cup™ Uzbekistan 2023 with victory over Syria

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March 3, 2023

Uzbekistan kicks off AFC U20 Asian Cup™ Uzbekistan 2023 with victory over Syria

Uzbekistan got their AFC U20 Asian Cup™ Uzbekistan 2023 campaign off to a flying start with a solid 2-0 victory over Syria in Group A on Wednesday.

Ahead of the game, the near capacity crowd at Bunyodkor Stadium were treated to an impressive opening ceremony combining traditional Uzbek music and dances with mesmerising light and fire displays.

The hosts looked to take the game to their opponent’s half from the start but were left frustrated after a series of shots from inside the box were blocked one after another by the resilient Syrian defenders.

Uzbekistan nearly took the lead in the 18th minute when Polatkhoja Kholdorkhonov received the ball inside the box and curled an effort towards the far post, but goalkeeper Maksim Saffar produced a magnificent flying save to deny him the opener.

Eight minutes before the halftime break, the stadium erupted as Uzbekistan took the lead in style. Abbosbek Fayzullaev lined-up a free-kick from the left flank, sending a wonderfully struck effort into the far top corner of the net to put the hosts in front.

Captain Umarali Rahmonaliyev nearly doubled his side’s lead four minutes later as he collected Fayzullayev’s pass from the left and advanced into the box, but with the angle narrowing, his attempt ended up hitting the wrong side of the net.

The large crowd at Bunyodkor Stadium thought their side had doubled their lead just before the break when Fayzullayev sent a low ball into the six-yard-box, but with the goal at his mercy from a few yards out, Nodirbek Abdurazzaqov somehow managed to squander the chance, sending his shot flying over the crossbar.

The home side started the second half in a similar fashion and once more, goalkeeper Saffar was called into action to deny the energetic Fayzullaev who broke free and attempted to finish from close range after a quick one-two with Rahmonaliyev.

Syria’s woes were compounded midway through the second half as Fayzullayev’s in-swinging corner was first nodded by Syrian defender Khaled Al Hejjeh then sent into the net by his teammate Zakaria Al Ramadan who scrambled to clear it at the far post to no avail.

With the two sides jointly topping the group after Matchday One, Uzbekistan take on Iraq at the same ground on Saturday, while Syria will look to make amends against Indonesia at Lokomotiv Stadium next.