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Pyongyang: Uzbekistan kept alive their hopes of booking their place at the AFC Women’s Asian Cup Jordan 2018 on Friday thanks to a convincing 7-1 Group B win over India.

With just the one ticket to next year’s continental gathering up for grabs, the victory sees Uzbekistan go second in the group with six points from their two games, a solitary point behind table-topping DPR Korea who have played a game more, and two ahead of third-placed Korea Republic.

Given their need for a resounding victory against India, Uzbekistan started brightly at the Kim II Sung Stadium, taking a two-goal lead within the first six minutes courtesy of starlet Lyudmila Karachik double strike.

The 23-year-old opened her account by racing past three Indian defenders and firing home, before calmly notching her second of the game on six minutes.

Uzbekistan grabbed their third five minutes later when Feruza Trudiboeva headed a sublime Maluda Munavarova cross into the path of striker Makhilyo Sarikova who made no mistake from close range.

Three became four on 19 minutes, India goalkeeper Panthoi dropping yet another Munavarova cross to present Umida Zairova with the simplest of finishes.

Somewhat against the run of play, India then responded with arguably one of the finest goals yet in the qualifiers, India captain Bala Devi spectacularly firing home from distance in the 22nd minute to give her side a glimmer of hope.

Any thoughts of an Indian revival were to be short-lived however when Uzbekistan extended their lead yet again, this time captain Sarikova adding her second of the match in the 44th minute.

India began the second half with greater intent and came close to reducing the deficit once again, but following a surging run down the right flank by Grace Dangmei, substitute Kashmina, volleyed well over Jonimqulova Maftuna’s goal when well placed.

Uzbekistan went on to notch their sixth of the night, Dildora Nozimova supplying substitute Liana Narbekova who turned beyond her marker and slotted home beyond a helpless Panthoi.

The Uzbeks duly added a seventh moments before the final whistle courtesy of a Feruza Trudiboeva penalty to round off a comfortable victory in style.


Uzbekistan coach Babakulov Sherali:
"First of all, I would like to thank all the fans who came to support us. I would like to congratulate my team for their performance. I would also like to acknowledge India who played very well. I am happy with the way we played, I said before that we were going to attack from the start and the girls went out today and did just that, so I am very pleased."


India coach Sajid Yousof Dar:,
"We have to admit that it is difficult for any team when they go down 3-0 so quickly in the game. But you know, credit to the girls for still trying to take the game to Uzbekistan. We showed some attacking intent despite being down for most of the match. We have gained so much from these three games and we will take back many positives with us."


Photo: DPR Korea Football Association

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