Uzbekistan beats Saudi Arabia 3-1 to advance at Asian CupMelbourne, Australia: Midfielder Sardor Rashidov scored a goal in each half to give Uzbekistan a 3-1 victory over Saudi Arabia on Sunday and a spot in the Asian Cup quarterfinals.Uzbekistan will next face South Korea
Melbourne, Australia: Midfielder Sardor Rashidov scored a goal in each half to give Uzbekistan a 3-1 victory over Saudi Arabia on Sunday and a spot in the Asian Cup quarterfinals.
Uzbekistan will next face South Korea in Melbourne on Thursday after finishing second in Group B to China, which completed a clean sweep of the group stage with a 2-1 win over already eliminated North Korea.
China already secured top spot in the group with wins over Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan, and faces host Australia on Thursday in Canberra.
Uzbekistan took the lead after just 90 seconds when Rashidov stole the ball against the run of play just inside the Saudi half before beating three defenders and sliding a shot between the legs of Saudi goalkeeper Waleed Abdullah.
Saudi Arabia pushed relentlessly into the Uzbistan half for no reward either side of halftime until Mohammed Al Sahlawi finally equalized from the penalty spot in the 60th minute when Naif Hazazi was brought down by Vitaly Denisov in the area.
Uzbekistan looked to have scored from a free kick just two minutes later, but an apparent goal was called back after the referee ruled a Saudi defender was pulled down while standing in the wall.
Second-half substitute Vokhid Shodiev restored the lead for Uzbekistan in the 71st when he leapt to meet a long Shavkatjon Mulladjanov cross and powerfully headed the ball inside the near post.
Rashidov claimed his second goal to put the win beyond doubt in the 79th when he gathered a long, centering pass from Jasur Khasanov inside the area and outran the Saudi defense before firing the ball past Abdullah in the Saudi net.
Sun Ke scored in the 1st and 42nd minutes in Canberra to give China its first undefeated run through the group stage. North Korea's goal came via an own goal from Lin Gao in the 56th.