AFC U23 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2022

Saudi Arabia beat Uzbekistan 2-0 to lift long awaited title

Monday, 2022-06-20 07:14:31
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The Saudi Arabian players celebrate their maiden U23 Asian Cup trophy. (Photo: AFC)
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NDO - Saudi Arabia cruised past Uzbekistan 2-0 in the final match of the 2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup on Sunday night to lift the title for the first time after having finished runners-up in 2013 and 2020.

Ahmed Alghamdi and Firas Albrikan found the back of the net in the second half as coach Saad Al Shehri’s side clinched their maiden trophy without conceding a single goal in six matches.

Uzbekistan had the larger portion of control in the first 15 minutes, but they were unable to find a way past Saudi Arabia’s stout defence.

Saudi Arabia came close to opening the scoring in the 24th minute when Ayman Yahya stole the ball from the edge of the box and burst down before pulling back to find Albrikan, whose close-range effort was stopped by defender Alibek Davronov.

Uzbekistan wasted a good chance to go ahead nine minutes later when Ulugbek Khoshimov’s lob over the Saudi defenders found a surging Hojimat Erkinov, but the Pakhtakor midfielder failed to get his strike on target.

It seemed like the tide had turned in Saudi Arabia’s favour in the 39th minute when Ahmed Alghamdi was brought down by Davronov in the area, but after an extensive VAR review, the penalty decision was overturned as Albrikan had been offside at the start of the play.

Shortly before halftime, goalkeeper Vladimir Nazarov rescued the host team by denying Ayman Yahya’s header from going in.

Saudi Arabia broke the deadlock four minutes into the restart, with Hamad Al Yami’s cross finding unmarked Alghamdi at the edge of the box, who then dribbled past Mirsaidov and shot past an outstretched Nazarov.

The Saudi Arabian players celebrate scoring a goal during the match. (Photo: AFC)

Uzbekistan intensified their attacks in search of the equaliser and almost restored parity in the 63rd minute when captain Jaloliddinov fired a long-range strike inches over the crossbar.

The home side successfully found the back of the net in the 71st minute, but Jiyanov’s goal was disallowed for offside.

Saudi Arabia added a second goal just three minutes later as substitute Turki Alammar played a through ball to Albrikan who fired an unstoppable shot to seal a convincing victory for Saad Al Shehri’s side.

Earlier on June 18, Japan thrashed Australia 3-0 to claim the third place in this year’s competition.

Saudi Arabia's Ayman Yahya was named the AFC U23 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2022 Most Valuable Player, while his teamamte Nawaf Alaqidi was named the best goalkeeper of the tournament.

Republic of Korea striker Cho Young-wook took the top scorer award with three goals and one assist.

Van Toan