Australia qualified for the semi-finals after beating Turkmenistan 1-0 at Bunyodkor Stadium in Tashkent in the quarter-finals of the 2022 AFC U-23 Cup in Uzbekistan.
After the first half ended in a goalless draw, Australia managed to score the precious winning goal in the 74th minute by a mistake by Turkmenistan’s player Uraz Orazov.
Australia qualified to meet in the semi-finals with the winner of the match between Korea, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam, which will be held on Sunday.
The match began quickly between the two teams, and the Turkmen team had the first opportunity when Timur Charev tried to surprise the advanced Australian goalkeeper Joe Gauci by shooting a high ball from the middle of the field that went near the left post (14).
After that, the pace of play by the two teams calmed down, and playing in the middle of the field was limited, with the Turkmen national team relying on tight defensive closures and trying to make quick counter-attacks, but without any serious attempts on the two sides’ goal.
The Australian team’s first dangerous attempt came through its defender Guy Rich-Baguelo when he hit a powerful ball with his right foot from a distance that passed close to the right post of goalkeeper Rasul Charev (37).
In the moments of the first half, Australian player Luchlan Brook hit a powerful ball with his left foot from outside the penalty area into the arms of goalkeeper Charev (45 + 3).
The Australian team entered the second half in an offensive manner and pressed his opponent’s goal in an attempt to open the match, and almost succeeded in achieving that when Rami Najjarin hit a powerful ball with his left foot from outside the penalty area that bounced from the bottom of the left post (53).
The most dangerous opportunity for the Turkmen team came through Shamamit Heydarov, who received a pass from the right side inside the penalty area from his colleague Begenshmirat Miradov, and Heydarov shot it with his right foot slightly above the goal (63).
The Australian team managed to score the goal after Luis Darego sent a powerful high ball into the penalty area, which the Turkmen defender Uraz Orazov mistakenly turned into his team’s goal after the ball rebounded from under the crossbar and crossed the goal line (74).
Then the Turkmen team tried to reduce the difference through the right-footed midfielder Charrev’s shot from outside the penalty area towards the right corner, which was controlled by goalkeeper Gauchi (80).
Two minutes later, the Turkmen team got a dangerous opportunity when the Australian goalkeeper saved two consecutive shots of Roman Galkin and his colleague Rahman Miratberdiev from inside the penalty area, so the ball went to a corner.
On the other hand, Najjarin hit a powerful ball with his left foot from outside the penalty area, and it passed close to the right post (84). The last minutes did not result in a change in the result of the match, which ended with a difficult victory for Australia, with a goal for nothing.
In the first round, the Australian team led the standings of Group B with 7 points from three matches, compared to 5 points for Iraq, 4 for Jordan, and none for Kuwait.
On the other hand, Turkmenistan ranked second in Group A with 4 points from three matches, three points behind Uzbekistan, compared to two points each from Iran and Qatar.
The two semi-final matches will be held on Wednesday, June 15, with the match to determine the third and fourth places on June 18, and the final match on the 19th of this month.
Uzbekistan qualified for the semi-finals after defeating Iraq 3-2 on penalties, after the two teams tied 1-1 in regular and extra time>
In the original time, Kaa Ramadan (19 penalty kicks) and Ammar Ghaleb (68) scored the two goals of Iraq, while Jasurbek Jalal Aldinov (45 + 5 penalty kick) and Iraqi Hussein Ammar (50 goal kick) scored two goals for Uzbekistan.
Then in the penalty shootout, the Uzbek team scored three goals from four attempts, while Iraq scored two goals from five attempts. Uzbekistan completed the match with ten men after goalkeeper Abdul Wahed Nematov was sent off in the 13th minute.
The Uzbek team qualified to meet in the semi-finals with the winner of the match between South Korea and Japan, which will be held on Sunday.