Qualifiers - Group D: Kyrgyz Republic back on track, IR Iran surge to victory
Tehran: Kyrgyz Republic got their AFC U-19 Championship Uzbekistan 2020 qualification bid back on the track with a 2-0 win over United Arab Emirates, while Islamic Republic of Iran scored four late goals to beat Nepal 4-0 on Friday.
The results mean Iran will go into Sunday’s group finale in top spot, knowing a draw or better against UAE will be enough to win a group where three teams still remain in contention.
Iran have six points after two matches, while Kyrgyz Republic and UAE are on three apiece, with Nepal bottom of the table after two defeats.
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Kyrgyz Republic 2-0 United Arab Emirates
Looking to build on Wednesday’s 4-0 win over Nepal, UAE started promisingly, although their ascendancy didn’t translate into a great deal of goalmouth action, with a speculative free-kick from Mayed Ali Al Teneiji, which was well saved by Asankozhoev, the closest they came to an early goal.
While UAE probed, Kyrgyz Republic looked to threaten on the counterattack, and it was one of those moments which ultimately led to the opening goal.
After a searing run from Ernaz Abilov earned a free-kick, Shigaibaev unleashed a wonderful dead ball effort from 30 yards, beating Rakaan Waleed Al Menhali to put Igor Nikitin’s side a goal up in the 39th minute.
Another free-kick produced another goal six minutes later, with the ball slipping under Al Menhali to squeeze into the net after a strike from Artykbaev, giving UAE a mountain to climb to keep their winning record intact.
An Asankozhoev foul looked to have given the Emiratis a way back into tie when they were awarded a penalty just before the hour mark, but the Kyrgyz Republic goalkeeper made up for his error with a terrific low save to deny Ahmed Al Hammadi’s spot-kick.
The stop set Kyrgyz Republic on the path to victory, and potentially next year’s Finals if can they continue their winning ways against Nepal on Sunday.
Nepal 0-4 IR Iran
Islamic Republic of Iran were held scoreless for 75 minutes before coming home with a wet sail to register a 4-0 win over Nepal in Friday’s later match.
Nepal showed great spirit to keep the hosts at bay until deep into the second half, but Mohammadmahdi Ahmadi’s drought-breaking header sparked an Iranian onslaught which produced four goals in 15 minutes.
Iran’s win keeps them on track to reach Uzbekistan 2020, with Team Melli able to seal their place by avoiding defeat against UAE on Sunday.
The hosts were well on top in the opening stages, but Nepal defended in numbers, showing composure and discipline to keep clear cut chances to a minimum in a scoreless first half.
Despite a frustrating opening 45 minutes, the Iranian goal threat showed little sign of subsiding, with Nepal surviving a number of close calls from headed efforts as well as a goalmouth scramble following a dangerous cross from Alireza Asadabadi.
With 15 minutes remaining, Nepal could sense a famous result, but the plot twisted sharply when Ahmadi was left alone to head in a corner kick from just five yards, and it became a double blow when Iranian skipper Ahmad Reza Jalali slammed in a second, also following a corner kick, in the 84th minute.
The floodgates were now open, particularly when Alireza Monazami rounded Nepal goalkeeper Bishal Sunar to ease home Iran’s third just two minutes later, with Aria Barzegar putting the icing on the cake with another goal in the 90th minute.
The 11 group winners and four best runners-up will join hosts Uzbekistan in the 2020 Finals.
Tajikistan have already qualified as Group C winners and should Uzbekistan finish either top of Group F of the Qualifiers or are among the best four second-placed teams, the fifth best runners-up will qualify.
Group A of the Qualifiers - featuring Iraq, Oman, Palestine, Kuwait and Pakistan - will be played on November 22-30 in Muscat, Oman.
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