Uzbekistan starlets shine for Nasaf in ACL qualifier

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Three of Uzbekistan’s victorious AFC U-23 Championship squad starred again on Tuesday as FC Nasaf claimed a 5-1 win over Al Faisaly in the AFC Champions League qualifiers.

Just three days after being involved in the team which beat Vietnam in the final of the AFC U-23 Championship, Bobir Abdixolikov, Azizjon Ganiev and Odiljon Xamrobekov all started the playoff at the Qarshi Markaziy Stadium.

It took Nasaf 12 minutes to open the scoring when Igor Golban was left unmarked at the near post to meet Slavko Lukic’s corner with a firm header into the back of the net.

Four minutes after halftime, another corner reaped more reward as Abdixolikov climbed well to nod Jasur Khasanov’s dipping delivery past Yazeed Abu Laiba.

Ganiev was the next to get in on the act three minutes later, latching onto a clearance on the edge of the box and floating an exquisite effort into the top corner.

Dragan Ceran then added a fourth from the penalty spot in the 61st minute after Islom Kenjabaev had been brought down inside the area.

Doniyorjon Narzullaev – another member of the triumphant U-23 side – then came off the bench and made an impact with three minutes remaining, breaking free and whipping in a cross that caused Yaseer Al-Rawashdeh to head into his own net.

Al Faisaly did manage a consolation deep into injury-time when Alban Meha scored with a thumping 25-yard freekick, although it did little to take away any of the gloss on a dominant Nasaf victory.

FC NASAF: Sanjar Kuvvatov, Slavko Lukic, Igor Golban, Umar Eshmuradov, Sharof Mukhitdinov, Odiljon Xamrobekov, Azizjon Ganiev (Golib Gaybullaev 75’), Islom Kenjabaev, Dragan Ceran, Jasur Khasanov (Doniyorjon Narzullaev 70’), Bobir Abdixolikov.

AL FAISALY: Yazeed Abu Laiba, Mahmoud Al-Mardi, Anas Bani Yaseen, Yaseer Al-Rawashdeh, Salem Al-Ajalin, Khalil Bani Ateyah, Alban Meha, Dominique Mendy (Ahmad Sariweh 84’), Oday Zahran, Yousef Al-Rawashdeh (Medhi Alameh 77’), Lukasz Gikiewicz.