With a 0-9 deficit from the first leg in Tashkent, the best the crowd at Zhongshan Stadium in Taipei could hope for yesterday was that Taiwan's soccer team could restore a bit of pride in their match against Uzbekistan.
All hopes of reaching the Asian Zone second qualifying round of the FIFA World Cup 2010 were extinguished by the result against Uzbekistan in the first leg. That was reflected in the size of the crowd yesterday evening, as at best a few hundred turned up to watch the match, even though, as always, admission was free.
For 80 minutes Taiwan's soccer players more than regained some pride, as they harried the Uzbeks in midfield, defended bravely and more than rode their luck to keep the game scoreless. But in the 80th minute a cross from the left evaded everybody in the Taiwan penalty area and the ball fell to Islom Inomov who squeezed it in at the far post.
Then, in the last minute, after a foul on the edge of the Taiwan area, Ilhomjon Suyunov hit a free kick into the top left corner to seal a 2-0 win for Uzbekistan, 11-0 on aggregate.
Both anthems were impeccably observed by the crowd and Taiwan kicked off with a 4-5-1 formation, Huang Wei-yi (
Taiwan attacked from the off, maybe catching Uzbekistan off guard, and had a good chance as early as the second minute when captain Cheng Yung-jen (
It did not take long for Uzbekistan to get back into the game however, and after good work by Viktor Klishin in the penalty area a cross from Pavel Solomin on the right fell to Server Djeparov who hit the post with Taiwan keeper Lu Kun-chi (
Lo Chih-an, Chen Po-liang (
A tackle from behind by Hayrulla Karimov on Lo Chih-en had Bangladeshi referee Tayeb Shamsuzzam reaching for his yellow card in the 15th minute, and two minutes later a free kick from Djeparov was headed just wide by Klishin.
Solid defense from both teams and a crowded midfield meant chances were hard to come by until the 31st minute when Chen, Lo Chih-en and Huang combined well on the edge of the opposition penalty area for Taiwan, with the keeper getting down well to save Lo Chih-en's shot.
Two minutes later Uzbekistan looked to have won a penalty when Klishin fell in the area under a challenge from keeper Lu, but the referee waved play on.
Uzbekistan replaced Djeparov with Shavkat Salomov following an injury, and missed the final chance of the half in the 45th minute when Timur Kapadze headed wide.
The Uzbeks looked to go after Taiwan following the break. Waves of pressure were repelled by the Taiwan midfield and defense as they remained resolute, but as the half wore on they began to tire -- evident when keeper Lu was booked for time-wasting on a goal kick.
Taiwan's best chance of the second half came in the 64th minute when a great pass from Cheng found Lo Chih-en free on the right. His cross was mis-kicked by Chen, but found Lo Chih-an on the left, whose sweet half-volley was saved by Nesterov at his near post.
Uzbekistan replaced Azizbek Haydarov with Hamza Karimov, who was booked two minutes later for a poor tackle. In the 72nd minute Lu pulled off a great point-blank save from Kapadze as Uzbekistan piled on the pressure.
After 76 minutes Taiwan replaced captain Cheng with Liang Chien-wei, but four minutes later their weary defenses were finally breached.
Japanese couple Rikiya and Ayumi Kataoka had their honeymoon wrecked by the COVID-19 pandemic, but their resourcefulness in enforced exile in Cape Verde has won them appointments as ambassadors for its Olympic team. The Kataokas had completed a third of their round-the-world trip when a suspension in long-haul flights stranded them for five months in the archipelago of 10 tiny islands off the coast of West Africa. Unable to resume their journey to Europe and then home to Japan, and unwilling to head to the African mainland, where virus cases are spiking, they had to trade their skills with domestic businesses to
WEEKEND MATCHES: While Tatung FC made good on their chances early on, Taiwan Steel rallied to win the game 2-3 and move to the top with Taichung Futuro Sunday’s action saw Taichung Futuro, Taipower FC and Taiwan Steel tied for first place on 30 points in the Taiwan Football Premier League, while Hang Yuan FC picked up a point to take the No. 4 spot on 25 points after holding Taipower to a scoreless draw. In Taoyuan, Tatung FC hosted Taiwan Steel. It was an exciting matchup, as the visitors rallied from 2-0 down to take the game with three goals. Tatung made good on their chances early on. Honduran midfielder Elias Argueta opened the account 15 minutes into the game with a low shot from the right. Three minutes
Ronnie O’Sullivan delivered a scathing attack on the next generation of snooker players after he made the quarter-finals of the World Snooker Championship on Sunday, ending Chinese star Ding Junhui’s world championship dream. The mercurial 44-year-old Englishman won an enthralling high-quality second-round encounter 13-10 to set up a quarter-final clash with three-time champion Mark Williams. When asked by the BBC whether he thought he would remain at the top of the game for this long, the Briton, who turned professional in 1992, said the poor quality of younger players had secured his position and that something drastic would have to happen
Max Verstappen informed his Red Bull team that he would not be driving “like a grandma” in Formula One’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on Sunday — and he was as good as his word. The Dutch 22-year-old seized his opportunity at Silverstone, ending dominant Mercedes’ run of four successive wins this season and moving up to second place overall, 30 points behind leader Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen’s confidence shone through early on, after slotting into third place behind the two Mercedes, when he was told by race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase to take care of his tires. “Mate, this is the only chance of being