Thu, Jul 19, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Uzbeks send china home, Iran qualifies

AGENCIES , KUALA LUMPUR

Uzbekistan knocked Group C favorites China out of the Asian Cup with a stunning 3-0 upset victory at the Shah Alam Stadium yesterday, China's first Asian Cup group-stage exit in 27 years

Dynamo Kiev striker Maksim Shatskikh, Pakhtakor midfielder Timur Kapadze and veteran Alexander Geynrikh scored late in the second half to break the hearts of the 2004 runners-up.

Iran finished top of the group on seven points after their 2-0 win over co-hosts Malaysia last night, with Uzbekistan second on six points. China finished with four points and Malaysia lost all three matches.

China needed only a draw to reach the quarter-finals after a 5-1 victory over Malaysia and a 2-2 draw with Iran. Uzbekistan, who thrashed Malaysia 5-0 after losing 2-1 to Iran, needed to win to reach the last eight.

China, giving a first start to Manchester United forward Dong Fangzhuo, edged a tepid first half played in damp conditions in a cavernous -- and nearly empty -- stadium.

Uzbekistan brought on Geynrikh at half-time followed by Victor Karpenko and the double switch made the difference as Shatskikh shaved the upright with a sizzling shot on 64 minutes.

Djeparov saw a shot saved before Karpenko hoisted a 40m free-kick on to Shatskikh's head, forcing a diving save from Yang before the forward finished with aplomb.

Geynrikh then collected the rebound from his own free-kick and lashed the ball past Yang to complete China's humiliation.

IRAN DEFEAT MALAYSIA

Malaysia coach Norizan Bakar, whose team was out of contention after two straight losses, fielded five defenders from the outset, hoping to avoid another massive defeat after conceding 10 goals in its previous matches against China and Uzbekistan.

Playing on a soggy pitch after hours of heavy rain earlier in the day, Iran pressed on the attack from the start.

But its best opportunity came through a penalty awarded in the 29th minute after Malaysian defender Khaironnisam Hussain felled Ali Karimi.

Midfielder Javad Nekounam shot inside the left post to easily beat Malaysian custodian Azizon Kadir.

Iranian midfielder Andranik Teymourian weaved past his markers to score in the 77th minute.

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