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MD2 - Group F: Mongolia 0-1 Tajikistan 

Ulaanbaatar: Davronjob Ergashev’s diving header nine minutes from time secured back-to-back wins in FIFA World Cup qualifying for Tajikistan on Tuesday as Usman Tashev’s side picked up a hard-earned 1-0 win over Mongolia.

Iskandar Dzhalilov’s sending off five minutes from time ensured a nervous finish for the Central Asian side, who sealed their second win in Group F having defeated Kyrgyz Republic in Dushanbe last Thursday.

The win means Tajikistan will sit on top of the group going into Matchday Three in October no matter what happens in the meeting between Myanmar and Japan later on Tuesday.

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Tajikistan dominated for large stretches of the game but looked destined to be forced into a share of the points as they struggled to turn their superiority into goals.

Davronjon Ergashev was incapable of keeping his eighth minute header down as the visitors dominated throughout the opening period, with Manuchekhr Dzhalilov and Muhammadjon Rahimov forcing the Mongolian defence onto the back foot.

With the game in first half injury time, Tajikistan created their best opening of the game when Alisher Dzhalilov’s lofted ball over the defence landed at the feet of Manuchekhr Dzhalilov, but his weak low shot gave Batsaikhan Ariunbold no problems.

Mongolia rarely threatened, with Mijiddorj Oyunbaatar’s tame effort from outside the area reflective of a disappointing attacking performance from the home side while Tajikistan continually failed to turn their superiority into anything tangible.

Manuchekhr Dzhalilov again found himself with time and space behind the Mongolia defence, but once more his first-time effort was fired over the bar.

Parvizchon Umarbaev saw his free kick tipped to safety by Ariunbold as Tajikistan edged closer and, with nine minutes remaining, Tashev’s team finally claimed the goal they deserved when Davronjon Ergashev threw himself at Jahongir Ergashev’s cross from the right to head home.

Iskandar Dzhalilov’s second yellow card of the game five minutes from time left Tajikistan to play out the final exchanges with 10 men, but the visitors clung on to secure consecutive wins to kick off their campaign.

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