Zhu Guanghu is facing selection problems ahead of Wednesday’s crucial Group C clash against Uzbekistan but the China coach is confident that the 2004 runners-up have the quality to prevail and reach the knockout stage of the AFC Asian Cup for a seventh consecutive time.
Uzbekistan coach Rauf Inileyev has downplayed the absence of China skipper Zheng Zhi and central defender Li Weifeng for Wednesday’s crunch AFC Asian Cup Group B encounter between the two sides, saying that the 2004 runners-up have more than adequate cover for the suspended duo.
Uzbekistan coach Rauf Inileyev insists that when his team challenges China in their final Asian Cup Group C match Wednesday, it won’t be the same side that lost meekly to the East Asians four months ago.
Iraq reached the quarter-finals of the Asian Cup for the fourth successive tournament after their goalless draw with Gulf rivals Oman at the Supachalasai Stadium on Monday coupled with Australia’s 4-0 win over hosts Thailand saw Jorvan Vieira’s side finish top of Group A.
Mark Viduka scored twice in the final 10 minutes to seal a 4-0 win for Australia over Thailand and earn the Socceroos a place in the quarter-finals of the AFC Asian Cup.
Saeed Alkas’ second half header and a stoppage time strike from Faisal Khalil robbed Qatar of a place in the quarter-finals of the AFC Asian Cup as the United Arab Emirates came from behind to earn a 2-1 win in Ho Chi Minh City on Monday.
Defending champions Japan remained on course for a third straight AFC Asian Cup title and fourth overall as they recovered from a early deficit to outclass Vietnam 4-1 at My Dinh National Stadium on Monday.
Former Uzbekistan midfield dynamo Mirdjalal Kasimov has insisted that despite Maksim Shatskikh’s bright start to the AFC Asian Cup, the Central Asians can take nothing for granted ahead of Wednesday’s make-or-break clash with China.
Isha Lakhani of India lost 6-2, 2-6, 3-6 to the seventh-seeded Vlada Ekshibarova of Uzbekistan in the final of the US$10,000 ITF women’s tennis tournament at Khonkan, Thailand.