Australia start with a win; China, Uzbekistan held to goal-less draws

Australia start with a win; China, Uzbekistan held to goal-less draws

QLNews
By QLNews

After a lackluster first half, Australia came alive brilliantly in the second to defeat India 2-0 in Group B of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium on Saturday.

After being repeatedly frustrated in the first half, goals from Jackson Irvine and Jordan Bos gave the Socceroos — looking to win their second title after 2015 — a crucial win and full three points.

The match at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, which saw 35,253 fans in attendance, also had a historic touch as Japan’s Yoshimi Yamashita became the first woman to referee an AFC Asian Cup match.

Australia started strongly, creating two chances in the opening minutes. But Aziz Behich shot wide, and Mitch Duke could not get his header on target.

India could have taken the lead against the run of play in the 16th minute after Nikhil Poojary’s cross from the right flank found Sunil Chhetri standing unmarked. However, the 39-year-old’s diving header went wide of the mark.

The Socceroos played a pressing game throughout the first half, but they were let down by poor finishing and India’s highly resilient defending.

However, the Australians found their mark five minutes into the second half. Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh pushed a Martin Boyle cross straight into the path of Irvine, who calmly slotted the ball home.

India’s faint hopes of a comeback were dashed in the 73rd minute when Australia doubled their lead through Bos. And from then on, there were no comebacks for India.

Australia will play Syria next Thursday, while India will take on Uzbekistan the same day.

Tajikistan made their AFC Asian Cup debut memorable by holding China to a 0-0 draw in a Group A game at the Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium.

Coach Petar Segrt’s Tajik players dominated play throughout the first half, ending their first 45 minutes of AFC Asian Cup football with 12 shots to their opponents’ three, more possession, and more passes completed.

The Tajik crowd thought their side had taken the lead in the 26th through Alisher Dzhalilov, but the effort ended wide.

Chinese goalkeeper Yan Junling was constantly kept on his feet by his rivals.

With 10 minutes left in the game, Xu Xin curled an effort from 25 yards out, only to be parried away by a flying Rustam Yatimov.

From the resultant corner kick, the ball was crossed to Zhu Chenjie, who headed it into the back of the net. However, the goal was overturned following a VAR review.

Tajikistan will next play hosts Qatar, while China will take on Lebanon in the other group game.

Both Syria and Uzbekistan played an attacking brand of football, trying their best to shake their opponents’ nets. However, despite the best of the team’s attempts, the game remained goalless.

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