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AFC Asian Cup 2019, Australia vs. Uzbekistan: 3 Reasons why the Socceroos won in penalty shootouts

ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
557   //    22 Jan 2019, 07:27 IST

Australia nearly suffered a major upset but Matt Ryan's heroics denied the unforeseeable
Australia nearly suffered a major upset but Matt Ryan's heroics denied the unforeseeable

Australia edged out Uzbekistan 4-2 in the penalty shootouts after both the sides failed to break the deadlock in regulation and extra time in their 2019 AFC Asian Cup Round of 16 encounter. The Socceroos will next lock horns with either UAE in the quarterfinals.

Australia made two changes to the side that beat Syria 3-2 on Tuesday as Milos Degenek and Massimo Luongo made their way for Trent Sainsbury and Mark Milligan. Uzbekistan, on the other hand, made four changes to the side that lost 2-1 to Japan.

Farrukh Sayfiev, Egor Krimets, Fozil Musaev, and Ikromjon Alibaev gave up their place in the starting lineup for Oleg Zoteev, Anzur Ismailov, Otabek Shukorov, and Jaloliddin Masharipov.

Also Read: 3 Reasons why Australia will find it tough to defend the title

The match was a cagey affair, making it fair for both the sides that the winner had to be selected via penalty shootouts.

Despite bowing out of the tournament, Uzbekistan can hold their head high as they came up with a spirited performance. Here are 3 reasons why Australia defeated Uzbekistan in the penalty shootout.


#1 Awer Mabil forced to play deep

The Uzbekistan defenders didn't give Awer Mabil any free space to breathe
The Uzbekistan defenders didn't give Awer Mabil any free space to breathe

Coming on to the game, Australia's hopes of scoring goals rested on Awer Mabil who was the Socceroos' only player to score two goals in the tournament.

Uzbekistan knew that if they can contain the Kenyan-born winger, Australia's chances of gaining momentum and finding the back of the net would decrease drastically.

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Also Read: Awer Mabil, a rising star in the Aussie galaxy

Awer Mabil couldn't play his natural game as he was forced to play deep in order to bring the ball forward and create scoring opportunities. Oleg Zoteev did a marvellous job of marking him as a result of which he couldn't fire a single shot.


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