Published: 05 October 2010
Linzi: Coach Marat Kabaev is confident Uzbekistan can go far at the 2010 AFC U-19 Championship if they continue to show the same attitude and desire displayed in the 1-0 win over Bahrain at Linzi Stadium on Tuesday.
While there were few notable chances for either side throughout Pavel Smolyachenko scored a goal worthy of winning any match when he hit a sweetly struck effort from over 25 yards into the back of the net after 16 minutes.
Bahrain never really recovered from that early set back and though they enjoyed a lot of possession in the remainder of the match they rarely called goalkeeper Viktor Mochalov into action.
The victory for Uzbekistan was their second in succession after edging DPR Korea 1-0 in their opening game on Sunday and confirms their place in the last eight of the tournament as they look to go one better than their runners-up finish two years ago.
“It was a very important victory for our team because it has sent us through to the quarter finals,” said Kabaev.
“I was very pleased to see the players play right up until the last minute.
“They showed a good attitude and I am very happy with how they performed and how the game went.”
Kabaev chose to utilise the full strength of the squad he has at his disposal by making four changes to the team that defeated DPR Korea.
“The reason for the changes was because we had to give some of our players the opportunity for a rest as it is only one full day since our last game,” he added.
“I think this proved a correct decision.”
Bahrain coach Hosni Al Zawawi felt the performance from his players was far from the level they are capable of and knows they will need to step up against DPR Korea.
The two sides meet on Thursday in a battle to join Uzbekistan in the last eight and Al Zawawi has demanded more from his players in that game.
“The match was not at the highest level from us,” he said.
“From one shot Uzbekistan took the result. We played better in the second half than we did in the first but we can still do better.
“The good thing about the Uzbekistan team was that they focused for the entire 90 minutes and did not make mistakes.”