Tajikistan make more history to join Australia in Asian Cup quarters

Tajikistan make more history to join Australia in Asian Cup quarters

© AFP 2022
January 28, 2024 at 7:46 PM
Tajikistan celebrate beating the UAE
Tajikistan celebrate beating the UAE. Photo: KARIM JAAFAR / AFP
Source: AFP

Asian Cup debutants Tajikistan celebrated making more history as they stunned the United Arab Emirates on penalties to join Australia in the quarter-finals on Sunday.

After the game ended 1-1 in Doha after 120 tense minutes, Tajikistan won a dramatic shootout 5-3 with Alisher Shukurov holding his nerve with the final spot-kick.

The Central Asians, ranked 106th in the world and at their first Asian Cup, will now face either Jordan or the 2007 champions Iraq in the last eight.

Goalkeeper Rustam Yatimov made the decisive save from Caio Canedo with the UAE's second penalty of the shootout, and his outfield team-mates did the rest.

Led by charismatic Croat Petar Segrt, Tajikistan had looked set for a famous victory when Vakhdat Khanonov scored with a 30th-minute header, only for Khalifa Al-Hammadi to equalise in the 95th minute and send the game into extra-time.

Australia's defender Harry Souttar celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal
Australia's defender Harry Souttar celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal. Photo: HECTOR RETAMAL / AFP
Source: AFP

The UAE reached the semi-finals at the last two Asian Cups but Paulo Bento's side bow out to a side ranked more than 40 places lower than them.

Tajikistan drew with China and beat Lebanon in the first round to advance as Group A runners-up.

They will learn who they play in the quarter-finals when Iraq take on Jordan in the last 16 on Monday.

Palestine will make their debut in the knockout rounds when they face hosts and holders Qatar in Monday's second game of the day.

Australia thrash Indonesia

Australia set up a tasty clash against South Korea or Saudi Arabia with a 4-0 win over a spirited but limited Indonesia.

The Socceroos are trying to win the title for a second time and were again solid rather than spectacular in getting the job done in a niggly encounter.

Two goals in the first half, a deflected own goal on 12 minutes and a diving header by Martin Boyle on the stroke of the break, put Graham Arnold's side on their way.

With Indonesia out of gas at the end, Craig Goodwin volleyed in a rebound on 89 minutes for 3-0 and defender Harry Souttar made it four in stoppage time.

The scoreline flattered Australia but it was their third clean sheet in four matches and they have conceded only once.

"Indonesia made it tough for us, physically they were very big and strong," said coach Arnold.

"We told the boys to be ready for a fight and a physical battle."

Indonesia were making their first appearance in the knockout rounds of the competition and were ranked 121 places below their opponents.

They only conjured one shot on target all game but their South Korean coach Shin Tae-yong felt 4-0 was harsh on his side, who gave Australia one or two nervy moments in the first half.

"If we had not conceded this unlucky deflected first goal maybe things could have been different," he said.

"We did not play badly and regardless of the four goals, I want to thank my players."

© AFP 2022 photo
© AFP 2022