Turkmenistan v Uzbekistan: Hojageldyev wants to cut out mistakes

Uzbekistan can progress to the last 16 with victory over neighbour Turkmenistan, which gave Japan a scare in its tournament opener.

Arslanmurat Amanov celebrates his goal for Turkmenistan against Japan   -  Getty Images

Turkmenistan coach Yazguly Hojageldyev has called on his side to cut out the mistakes as it looks to prevent neighbour Uzbekistan from securing a place in the Asian Cup last 16.

Making only its second appearance at the tournament, Turkmenistan led 1-0 against Japan in its opening Group F game, which it emerged from with plenty of credit after eventually losing 3-2 to one of the favourites for the title.

"It gave us confidence," said Hojageldyev. "The result wasn't good for us but it gives us good confidence for the team.

"Nevertheless, we made small mistakes in the game, so we will try to erase these mistakes from the game.

"Of course we still have a chance. Any positive result will give us a boost and our first points. We still have two games." 

Hojageldyev insists Turkmenistan is not looking to avenge the 2004 loss to Uzbekistan in the competition, adding: "I don't see this game as [a chance for] revenge. It is just history."

Uzbekistan has not missed the knockout stage since 2000 but, though victory will ensure it continues that record after a narrow 2-1 defeat of Oman, coach Hector Cuper is not underestimating Turkmenistan.

"Turkmenistan had a really good performance against Japan, which is one of the big sides of the Asian continent," said the former Egypt coach. "We can theoretically watch them and analyse them but it's really different to see them on the pitch.

"They are a team with good discipline and, moreover, they are very good down the left wing. These are the main advantages of Turkmenistan, but each team has their own style and will play their own football.

"The team that will win will be the better prepared team for this game."


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Turkmenistan – Arslanmurat Amanov

Cuper identified Turkmenistan's threat as coming from the left, where Amanov played in the Japan game and marked his performance with a magnificent long-range effort that could well be the goal of the tournament. Uzbekistan will have to be wary of allowing him to cut onto his right.

Uzbekistan – Eldor Shomurodov

Rostov striker Shomurodov scored a fine individual goal to earn all three points against Oman, giving Cuper a possible selection headache after leaving him on the bench for their opening game.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Turkmenistan is without a win in its four Asian Cup games (D1 L3), with each of its three losses coming by a one-goal margin.
- Uzbekistan has scored in each of its group-stage games in the last five Asian Cup tournaments, scoring 25 goals in those 13 games (avg 1.9 goals per game).
- Turkmenistan has seen 15 goals in its four Asian Cup matches (avg 3.8 goals per game), scoring six and conceding nine.
- Uzbekistan is looking to win its opening two group-stage games of an Asian Cup tournament for just the third time in its history, doing so in 2004 and 2011.

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