Qualifiers - Group F: Uzbekistan start title defence with win over India
Tashkent: AFC U23 Championship holders Uzbekistan got their title defence underway with a 3-0 win over India at the Pakhtakor Stadium on Friday.
Uzbekistan came into the match with the advantage of playing at home, but the fresh U-23 squad had the pressure to impress in defending their title against a resilient Indian side.
India, who are aiming to make their debut in the Finals, held Uzbekistan back in the opening minutes of the match.
They defended well but as the game looked set to be goalless at the break, a mistake in the box proved to be costly as Uzbekistan were awarded a penalty kick in the 45th minute, with Islomjon Kobilov making no mistake from the spot to break the deadlock.
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The second half was almost similar to the first with the game stuck in midfield but it was Uzbekistan who came out on top with Bobir Abdixolikov finding the back of the net twice in the 78th and 83rd minutes to secure the three points.
In a three-team Group F, India now face a must-win game against Tajikistan on Sunday, before Uzbekistan face their Central Asian opponents on Tuesday.
Photos: Uzbekistan Football Association
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