2005 AFC Player of the Year runners-up Maxim Shatskikh slammed five goals as Uzbekistan crushed Chinese Taipei 9-0 in the first round of Asian qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup on Saturday night.
Uzbekistan, who failed to clinch the 2006 FIFA World Cup Asian zone playoff spot after losing to Bahrain on away goals, started aggressively at the Central Stadium and Shatskikh gave the Central Asians the lead in the fourth minute.
Shatskikh, who struts his stuff for Ukrainian outfit Dynamo Kiev, scored four more goals in the 16th, 34th, 57th and 77th minutes as Timur Kapadze (26), Viktor Karpenko (43), Ulugbek Bakaev (54) and substitute Shavkat Salomov (68) also found a place in the crowded scoresheet.
The return leg encounter takes place on October 28.
From the 19 teams that clear the first round, the lowest eight based on ranking move on to the second round and the other 11 to round three. The five top seeds – Australia, Korea Republic, Saudi Arabia, Japan and Iran – join the qualification process in the third round.
The draw for the third round will take place in Durban, South Africa, on 25 November 2007.