Muscat: Oman suffered their second successive defeat on Sunday when Tajikistan beat them 1-0 in the second round matches of the AFC U20 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2023. At Stadion Lokomotiv, Amadoni Kamolov revived his Tajikistan’s chances to earn one of the two spots from group while the loss dashed Oman’s hopes to continue in the Asian event and the team exits from an early stage for the third participation after 2014 and 2000 editions.
On the other hand, South Korea advanced to the quarterfinals as they managed to blank Jordan 2-0 on Sunday at JAR Stadium. The second win for the Koreans confirmed their presence in last-eight stage before their last game against Tajikistan. The second and third-placed teams, Jordan and Tajikistan, will fight for the remaining second ticket. The extra significance for the AFC U20 finals in Tashkent, which will conclude on March 18, is that it acts as the qualifier for 2023 Fifa U20 World Cup in Indonesia in May and June this year.
On Sunday, Spanish coach David Gordo aimed for a different show and registering a bounce back after the heavy defeat in the opening game against South Korea 4-0.
The first half started with attacks from Tajikistan as they were looking to score first. Kamolov was close to score his first as he benefited from a loose ball inside the box but his shot went left side of Oman goalkeeper Mazin Saleh. The miss-passes cost Oman a lot in the previous game against South Korea and in this match, the mistakes duplicated again in the field.
Daler Sharipov took advantage of a miss-pass in Oman’s defensive area to beat the goalkeeper from a tight angle but the post saved Oman from a goal.
Oman’s first actual scoring attempt came through midfielder Ali al Balushi who tried to snatch a ball and went towards the net before Tajikistan keeper S Yusupov did a perfect save.
In the last 10 minutes of the match, the opponents pressed hard in order to score the winning goal. Captain Amadoni Komolov delivered the joy for his team as he netted the only and most-important goal in the match in the 80th minute. Alijoni Ayni sent a ball from the corner which was headed towards the near post by Sunatullo Azizov and fell for Komolov, with the skipper firing it first-time into the bottom corner for his side’s first goal of the tournament.
Oman will play their third match against Jordan at the same venue on Wednesday while Tajikistan face group leaders Korea Republic on the same day at Bunyodkor Stadium.