Uzbekistan edge Oman to seal quarterfinals

Jiangyin: Uzbekistan beat Oman 1-0 to progress to the AFC U23 Championship China 2018 Quarter-finals at the Jiangyin Sports Center Stadium on Monday. An own goal from Thani Al Rushaidi in the first half was enough to give Uzbekistan a second place finish in Group A, while Oman exited the tournament with no wins to their name. In the opening minutes, Oman — who made six changes to their starting line-up from their previous match — looked confident playing around the tight spaces, with Al Mandhar Al Rawi and Marwan Awlad Wadi doing a great job in keeping the Uzbek backline nervous with their quick passes.
Eleven minutes in, Al Rawi surged down the middle but his shot was well blocked by defender Obbosjon Otakhonov.
Uzbekistan retaliated with a close attempt seven minutes later, when Azizjon Ganiev’s corner-kick found Zabikhillo Urinboev in the penalty area, but with a difficult angle his header missed to the right.
In the 36th minute, a series of passes around the box led to Rustamjon Ashurmatov letting fly a left footed shot which was saved by keeper Ibrahim Al Mukhaini but moments later, an own goal was conceded by Al Rushaidi when Oman failed to clear the ball from the box.
After the restart, Uzbekistan returned more confidently but after several early attempts, opted to play at a slower pace as they held on for the three points.
As Group A runners-up, Uzbekistan will face the Group B winners in the quarter-finals on Friday.
Oman head coach Hamad al Azani was distraught after the loss.
“I’m sorry about the result, we’re out of the tournament without any points, but I’m proud of my team. We don’t deserve the losses but this is football. These boys played well and have got a good future. We’ve all gained experience from this tournament, not just for the players but the staff as well.”
Uzbekistan coach Ravshan Khaydarov acknowledged it was a tough game.
“It was a very difficult and tough game, although my players didn’t show beautiful football, we still got the win. After our first loss, it made things difficult and we tried to improve game by game, and I told the team we had a chance and to keep trying till the very end. Oman had very good control over the ball, we tried to played on the counter-attack in the first half, but in the second half we changed some tactical aspects and played better.”