Dubai: Uzbekistan’s AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 travelling party has been confirmed after head coach Ljubinko Drulovic settled on a 23-strong squad, announced on Friday.
The selection features six players from their title-winning 2018 squad, and seven who have been capped at senior level, with Khojiakbar Alijonov and Sanjar Kodirkulov part of Vadim Abramov’s most recent Asian Qualifiers squad in November.
Dubai: Uzbekistan continued their encouraging pre-AFC U23 Championship form, earning a 3-1 win over Iraq in the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday.
Sherzhod Nasrullaev, Mirjakhon Mirakhmadov and Khojiakbar Alijonov were all on the scoresheet for Ljubinko Drulovic’s charges, while Munthader Sattar found the net for Iraq.
Uzbekistan’s win follows an earlier 4-2 victory over Iraq, as well as a 4-0 success against local club outfit Al Arabi, as the Central Asian side prepare to defend their Asian title in Thailand next month.
Sharjah: Bobir Abdixolikov put his hand up as a player to watch in next month’s AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020, scoring a hat-trick as Uzbekistan beat Iraq 4-2 in a pre-tournament friendly at the Al Hamriya Sports Club Stadium on Sunday.
The FC Nasaf forward found the net twice in an action-packed first half, before completing his treble five minutes after the break to help Ljubinko Drulvic’s side seal victory.
FC Pakhtakor midfielder Jasurbek Yakhshiboev was also on the scoresheet for Uzbekistan, while Mohammed Ridha and Mohammed Dawood scored Iraq’s goals.
Tashkent: Uzbekistan’s U23 head coach Ljubinko Drulovic has set his sights on securing back-to-back titles as the Central Asian side look to not only defend the title they won in China in 2018 but secure a place at the Olympic Games for the first time in the country’s history.
The Uzbeks impressed two years ago on the way to their first Asian title at national level since claiming the gold medal at the 1994 Asian Games with a 2-1 victory over Vietnam in snow-covered Changzhou.
Kuala Lumpur: So often the nearly men of Asian football, having narrowly missed out on a place at the FIFA World Cup on several occasions, Uzbekistan enjoyed one of their finest footballing moments at the AFC U23 Championship China 2018.
A talented young side had claimed the AFC U-16 Championship title in 2012, but that was the only Continental trophy the Central Asians had lifted since joining the Asian Football Confederation in 1994.
Two years ago in Jiangsu, Ravshan Khadarov’s team began slowly before growing into the tournament. We look back how their march to a memorable title unfolded.
We can show we’re Asia’s best, insists Korea Republic's Lee
Seoul: Lee Dong-gyeong believes that the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 provides the perfect opportunity for Korea Republic to prove they are the best team on the Continent.
The East Asians have been one of the strongest teams in the competition over the years, finishing runners-up in 2016 and reaching the semi-finals in 2014 and 2018 but, despite always finishing in the top four sides, they have yet to lift the title.
Korea Republic will again begin the tournament as one of the favourites to be crowned champions and Ulsan Hyundai midfielder Lee is desperate for his country to claim a trophy that has so far eluded them.
Home comforts can prove the difference, insists Supachok
Bangkok: Experienced Buriram United attacker Supachok Sarachak is aiming to fire the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 hosts to new heights at January's Continental competition.
Thailand have appeared in two of three editions of the AFC U23 Championship but, unlike regional rivals Malaysia and Vietnam, they are yet to appear in the knockout stage, suffering group stage eliminations at Qatar 2016 and China PR 2018.
Now, with the tournament hosted on home soil, star forward Supachok believes that it could be Thailand's time to shine in the Continental competition.