Afghanistan edge Cambodia
Dushanble: Jabar Sharza scored twice as Afghanistan closed out their AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 qualifying campaign with a 2-1 win over Cambodia on Tuesday evening at the Pamir Stadium.
Victory ensured Otto Pfister’s team claimed third place in Group C with six points from their six games while Cambodia ended bottom of the standings three points behind.
Jordan and Vietnam had already secured the top two spots and the berths at next year’s Finals in the United Arab Emirates.
Afghanistan were looking for their first win of the campaign after three draws and two losses and Pfister’s team started strongly, with Sharza looking particularly lively in attack.
But it was the Cambodians who fashioned out the best opening of the first quarter of the game when Chan Vathanka forced Afghanistan goalkeeper Sou Yaty into action in the 21st minute.
Sharza was soon in action at the other end, forcing Sou into a save in the Cambodian goal before giving his side the lead three minutes ahead of the half hour mark with a fine finish.
Mustafa Azadzoy curled in a wicked cross from the right and Sharza swept the ball into the roof of the net to give Afghanistan the lead.
With a minute remaining in the half, Sharza doubled his side’s lead with another fine goal as he linked up with Azadzoy again before turning inside the area to smash his low shot beyond Sou.
Cambodia tried to find a way into the game throughout the second half and eventually pulled one back when the Afghanistan defence failed to clear Prak Mony Udom’s corner and Khuon Laboravy swooped to score.
But it was not enough to deny Pfister and his team a hard earned win and third place in the group.