Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Uzbekistan 1 - Iran 0; Qatar 1 - Lebanon 0

Doha was the site for Qatar's home match against Lebanon.  Qatar had defeated Lebanon 1-0 in the two teams' opening AFC Fourth Round fixture.  This match was a tale of two halves.  The first half saw the rise of Lebanon.  Abbas Ahmad Batwi fired a shot from the half circle that was plucked out of the air on the dive by Qatar goalkeeper Qasem Burhan, who had yet another vintage performance on this night.  Ahmad Zreik nearly sent a goal in from thirty yards, but once again Burhan was alert and rose to catch the ball.  The half ended 0-0.

The second half saw the fall of Lebanon.  Sebastian Soria made a solo run from the halfway line unmarked to a spot thirty-two yards from goal, from where he decided it wise to unleash an outside-of-the-boot swerve.  His shot left Lebanon goalkeeper Abbas Hassan rooted on his spot as the ball sailed into the back of the net.  Hassan made a crucial save mere moments later on a driven shot from Lawrence Quaye, but his offense could mount no charge on an equalizer.  Qatar win 1-0 to jump into a tie for second-place.

Tehran was the site of the rematch between visiting Uzbekistan and Iran.  The visiting White Wolves felt hard-done by the officiating in their home match against Team Melli on Matchday One, so they wanted to even the score on the road tonight.  Team Melli were without their usual support as the rain-drenched Azadi Stadium was filled to less than half-capacity.  Team Melli scored the opener through Mohammed Nori, but his goal was ruled back for offsides as his teammate Mohammed Khalatbari was blocking the goalkeeper's vision while in an offside position.  A fight nearly broke out when a felled Uzbek player had a ball back-heeled into his head by an Iranian player as he lay on the pitch.  Server Djeparov has his usual dangerous self for the White Wolves, and his free kicks caused havoc all night.  Iran were lackluster for the most part, and the first half ended in a tepid 0-0.

With twenty minutes to go, Djeparov stood over another free kick forty yards from goal.  The ball kept floating on a low line before dipping to hip level inside the six-yard box.  Ulugbek Bakaev ran onto the ball after getting goalside on his defender, giving himself an easy volley from three yards to give the White Wolves a lead.  Sanjar Tursonov nearly made it two to the good, but his effort inside the six-yard box was deflected off frame.  Iran scored another offside goal in stoppage time, leaving them to ponder what could have been.  Uzbekistan win 1-0 to move alone at the top of Group One.

Uzbekistan 8 pts +1
South Korea 7 pts +5
Iran 7 pts 0
Qatar 7 pts -2
Lebanon 4 pts -4

Sebastian Soria 75

Ulugbek Bakaev 71

Match Reports:

Highlights: (Qatar v. Lebanon) (Uzbekistan v. Iran)

Full Match Video: (Uzbekistan v. Iran)

1 comment:

Rufiniano Maldonado said...

Uzbekistan needed this victory to make up for their defeat against Iran in matchday 1, now they are serious contenders.
I was hoping to see Lebanon win, but even in a group that has proved close and interesting, they will have a lot of problems to stay in competition if they can't defeat Uzbekistan in the next matchday.