Football

Early goals disrupted our plans against Uzbekistan, says Qatar U-23 coach

Head coach Nicolas Cordova said the early goals scored by hosts Uzbekistan disrupted Qatar’s plans during their AFC U23 Asian Cup 2022 match played at Pakhtakor Stadium on Saturday.

The Qatar U-23 team suffered a 0-6 defeat as five different scorers and an own goal saw Uzbekistan secure a top spot finish in Group A with a match to spare. 

“Without a doubt, when you concede a goal so early it disrupts plans,” Cordova said. 

“Uzbekistan were in really good shape, and we had never seen them playing at this level when we watched them,” the Chilean said.

Cordova admitted they were surprised with Uzbekistan’s performance, and took full responsibility for the heaviest defeat so far in the tournament. 

“They played with long balls and we had problems dealing with the second (ball). At the end we’re responsible for how they scored the goals.

“We can never point at one player to be responsible, the responsibility is shared by all the players, and I am accountable for what happened tonight,” Cordova who took charge of the U-23 team two years ago, said.

Backed by a huge turnout at the Pakhtakor Stadium, the 2018 champions produced a sizzling show against the Qatari juniors and Uzbekistan coach Timur Kapadze said the 29,000 strong crown played a big role in their win.

“I want to thank all the fans who came today to support us,” said Kapadze. 

“Of course the supporters played a big role in our win, but our form and formation were also better than Qatar. We analysed their weaknesses and we exploited them. 

“We had observed Qatar’s matches and players. We controlled the game, and our players accomplished their mission well.

“In the first match, Turkmenistan played a very defensive game, but against Qatar, they played more openly and it was a good opportunity for us to create chances.”

Qatar dropped to the bottom of the standings after the defeat, and they will need to defeat Turkmenistan - who are second on three points - and hope Iran fail to win against Uzbekistan to advance to the knockout stage.

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