Uzbekistan 2-1 Oman, Group F
Sharjah Stadium, Sharjah
Just like Japan earlier in the day, Hector Cuper’s Uzbekistan were pushed to the limit in their opening Group F game against Pim Verbeek’s Oman. Uzbekistan captain Odil Ahmedov fired the White Wolves in front in the 34th minute with an unstoppable free-kick that curled around the wall and found the bottom corner.
Verbeek’s side found a deserved equaliser thanks to substitute Muhsen Al Ghassani, who rounded highly-experienced goalkeeper Ignatiy Nesterov before firing into the net. However, their lead lasted just over ten minutes when another substitute made the difference, this time for the Uzbeks. Eldor Shomurodov ghosted past Mohammed Al-Musallami before scoring with his left-foot at Faiyz Al Rusheidi’s near post to seal the three crucial points for the Central Asians.
Uzbekistan will face neighbours Turkmenistan next, while Oman will prepare for a tough test against Japan.