Watch: Uzbekistan left it late to beat Oman
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Watch: Uzbekistan left it late to beat Oman

Winning start for Qatar

Uzbekistan left it late before seeing off Oman 2-1 in their Group F commitment of the Asian Cup, on Wednesday.

In Sharjah, Eldor Shomurodov was the hero for Uzbekistan as he struck four minutes from time to grab a 2-1 win.

Shanghai SIPG midfielder Odil Ahmedov fired the White Wolves ahead on 34 minutes with a low free kick, before Oman's Muhsen Al-Ghassani levelled midway through the second half.

But as full time loomed, Shomurodov shrugged off the attentions of two defenders and beat goalkeeper Faiz Al-Rushaidi at his near post to clinch victory in Group F.

Valletta's Raed Saleh played full game for Oman as a left winger in a 4-3-3 shape and played a key role in his country's goal.

Qatar start with a victory

Elsewhere, Qatar's campaign in Group E opened under the shadow of the Gulf showdown that has left them blockaded and shunned by their neighbours, including Asian Cup hosts UAE, for more than 18 months.

Near the end of a tepid opening half in Al Ain, Lebanon's Ali Hamam thought he had scored with the game's first shot on target -- only for his volley to be ruled out for a foul.

The pace quickened in the second period and the breakthrough came on 65 minutes, when Bassam Al-Rawi swept a curling free kick over the wall and past a diving Mehdi Kahlil.

Substitute defender Abdelkarim Hassan, the 2018 Asian player of the year, was causing problems down the left and it was his break that created Qatar's second when Almoez Ali gobbled up a rebound with 11 minutes on the clock.

It was a welcome win for Qatar, who as well as contending with the Gulf blockade are also desperate for a good showing before their next major tournament -- the 2022 World Cup on home soil.

 

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