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19th-Jan-2015

Uzbekistan beat Saudi Arabia to reach Asian Cup quarter-finals

By Agency

Uzbekistan beat Saudi Arabia 3-1 to leapfrog their opponents and advance to the quarter-finals of the Asian Cup as runners-up of Group B.
Attacking midfielder Sardor Rashidov, one of the five players brought in to the starting line-up after Uzbekistan lost to China on Wednesday, scored twice while substitute Vokhid Shodiyev also netted.
Saudi Arabia, who would have advanced to the knockout phase with a win or a draw, drew level at 1-1 when Mohammed Al-Sahlawi converted a penalty in the 60th minute but the Green Falcons bowed out of the tournament by giving up two late goals.
Uzbekistan, semi-finalists at the last Asian Cup in 2011, will now play Group A winners South Korea in Melbourne on Thursday.
China, who topped the Group B standings with three wins, face the host-nation Australia in Brisbane the same night.
China were already assured of top spot after upsetting Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan and finished the group stage with a 2-1 win over North Korea in Canberra on Sunday in a match played simultaneously as the Melbourne fixture.
With North Korea out of contention, the match was effectively a dead rubber but China coach Alain Perrin resisted the temptation to rest all of his best players, saying it was more important to continue building momentum.
Right winger Sun Ke, who came on as a substitute and scored the winner in China's 2-1 victory over Uzbekistan, celebrated his promotion to the starting side by scoring both his teams goals in the first half.
He netted the first in the opening minute then his second three minutes before the interval. China gave one back when Gao Lin put through his own net in the second half but held on for the win.