Ho Chi Minh City: Abdurlraham Al Taweel scored a hat-trick as Kuwait made the perfect start to the AFC Futsal Championship with a comfortable 5-0 win over Group A opponents Tajikistan on Wednesday.
Captain Hamad Hayat gave Kuwait, who made it through to the quarter-finals of the competition in Dubai two years ago, the perfect start at Phu Tho Stadium by opening the scoring after just three minutes after latching onto a cross from Al Taweel.
Al Taweel was again involved when Kuwait doubled their lead in the 13th minute before Luis Fonseca’s side killed the match off early in the second half as Hayat netted his second of the match.
And Al Taweel went on to complete his hat-trick by scoring twice inside the closing minutes to wrap up the three points.
“Today's game was a game where we committed a lot of mistakes, particularly early on, which we need to fix,” said Fonseca, who now must prepare his side to face Iraq on Friday.
“But we got the result and credit goes to our defence.”
Both teams started the opening match of the tournament well, but it was Kuwait who were creating the more clear cut chances and this was rewarded when Al Taweel muscled his way clear down the right wing and found captain Hayat open at the back post.
Kuwait kept up the pressure after the first goal and could have doubled their lead through Mohammad Mohammad, but he saw his shot blocked on the line by Orzo Dodkhudoev.
But Kuwait did find their second in the 13th minute as Al Taweel provided the finish after Abdulaziz Albasam had broken quickly on the counterattack.
Tajikistan missed several chances to reduce the deficit before the break as Khurshed Makhmudov was put through in the 14th minute only to blaze over with just the goalkeeper to beat before hitting the woodwork just before the break.
Tajikistan had hoped to be the first to score when both teams came out for the second half, but as they pushed forward, Hayat was left open and a long ball found him in space and the Kuwait captain made no mistake to increase the advantage.
Kuwait were twice denied by the woodwork in the second half before the fourth goal finally arrived in the 37th minute as Ahmad Alfarsi worked a clever free-kick to Al Taweel who drilled his shot into the bottom corner.
And the match was wrapped up in the final minute as the pair again teamed up again from a free-kick to complete Al Taweel’s hat-trick.
"I want to congratulate our opponents, they made the match very hard for us,” said Tajikistan coach Damir Kamaletdinov, who now must re-group his side to face hosts Vietnam on Friday.
"We now have a chance to qualify for the knockout stage with two games remaining and we will try to do our best.
"Our main goal was to control the match, but unfortunately our opponents used our plans.
"After the second half, we said to our players that we must score one goal, but unfortunately the goal went against us."
Pohang: FC Seoul coach Choi Yong-soo has insisted his players must neutralize the attacking threat of Pohang Steelers when they take on their K League Classic rivals in the first leg of their AFC Champions League quarter-final tie at The Steelyard on Wednesday.
Al Ain: AFC Champions League top scorer Asamoah Gyan, who netted Al Ain's second in their 2-0 quarter-final first leg win over Al Ittihad on Tuesday, has praised playmaker Omar Abdulrahman for his quality passes.