Tashkent: Uzbekistan head coach Ravshan Khaydarov will make a late decision on whether to include striker Polutkhoja Kholdorkonov in his starting line-up for the AFC U20 Asian Cup™ Uzbekistan 2023 final at Bunyodkor Stadium on Saturday.
The hosts take on five-time champions Iraq with question marks over the fitness of their first-choice forward, who limped off after 20 minutes of their semi-final win over Korea Republic on Wednesday evening.
Uzbekistan were unable to find a way past the Koreans during 90 minutes of normal time and 30 additional minutes, meaning Khaydarov’s side needed a second successive penalty shoot-out to progress after eliminating Australia in similar fashion in the quarter-finals.
Partisan fans not an issue for Talib, Rahmonaliyev calls for focus
Tashkent: Defender Adam Talib will look to lead by example and shut out the fevered atmosphere at Bunyodkor Stadium on Saturday as Iraq take on Uzbekistan and the partisan home crowd in the AFC U20 Asian Cup™ Uzbekistan 2023 final.
Another full house is expected for the tournament decider with the vast majority in the 34,000 crowd backing the hosts, increasing the challenge for Emad Mohammed and his team as they look to claim Iraq’s first title at this level since 2000.
The Iraqis, however, have already experienced the unique Bunyodkor Stadium atmosphere and Talib is confident that familiarity will allow him and his teammates to overcome the hostility to win the trophy.