Tajikistan stun UAE on penalties to move into Asian Cup quarter-finals

UAE's Caio Canedo had his effort saved by goalkeeper Rustam Yatimov before Alisher Shukurov scored the decisive spot kick

By Reuters

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Tajikistan's players celebrate with their goalkeeper Rustam Yatimov after the penalty shoot-out. — AFP
Tajikistan's players celebrate with their goalkeeper Rustam Yatimov after the penalty shoot-out. — AFP

Published: Mon 29 Jan 2024, 12:42 AM

Asian Cup debutants Tajikistan upset the UAE 5-3 in a penalty shootout on Sunday to advance to the quarterfinals and keep their dream run alive after the game ended 1-1 after extra time.

Tajikistan were on course to become the first team in 32 years to win their maiden knockout game in the tournament through Vahdat Hanonov's first-half goal before Khalifa Al Hammadi forced extra time with a stoppage-time header.

In the shootout, UAE's Caio Canedo had his effort saved by goalkeeper Rustam Yatimov before Alisher Shukurov scored the decisive spot kick to create history for the central Asian nation.

After a cagey start, Tajikistan took the lead on the half-hour mark when Hanonov climbed over the defence to head home Zoir Dzhuraboev's cross, with the ball creeping over the line after UAE keeper Khalid Eisa attempted a save.

Tajikistan came out roaring in the second half too and had several opportunities on the counter-attack they failed to capitalise on against a shell-shocked UAE whose coach Paulo Bento cut a frustrated figure in the dugout.

Alisher Dzhalilov and Nuriddin Khamrokulov spurned golden opportunities to double Tajikistan's lead in the second half and UAE eventually made them pay in second-half stoppage time when Khalifa Al Hammadi headed home to force extra time.

But the UAE fans were stunned into silence when Tajikistan converted all their spot kicks to spark wild celebrations. Tajikistan will find out their quarter-final opponents on Monday when Iraq face Jordan.


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