Uzbeks march into quarter-finals
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Uzbekistan continued their dream run at their first-ever FIFA U-17 World Cup finals, routing Australia 4-0 in Torreon to book their place in the quarter-finals and send the Aussies packing. The Uzbeks took an early lead and the Australians, who had just finished group play on Sunday, were unable to find their footing.

The Uzbek boys assumed control of the match within the first ten minutes, giving goalkeeper Paul Izzo an early warning as Asiljon Mansurov tried his luck from outside the area only to see his effort sail wide. Uzbekistan did not have to wait much longer to find the back of the net, however, as captain and talisman Abbosbek Makhstaliev scored his third goal in as many matches in just the 11th minute. Mansurov sent a fine long-range pass from the halfway line into Makhstaliev, who was charging down the right side. The midfielder dribbled into the area and fired a shot past Izzo to take the lead.

Australia were unable to muster any real chance on Ganisher Kholmurodov’s net, with the Uzbeks seemingly having sorted out the defensive miscues suffered in their finals debut. Uzbekistan were keen on adding to their day’s tally, and their counter-attacking style again paid off five minutes before the break. Sardor Sabirkhodjaev beat his marker to the goal line, and slotted a pass back to the in-form Makhstaliev. In an attempt to deny the captain, the Australian defenders were unable to clear the resulting deflection. Timur Khakimov, lurking in a perfect position on the left side of the area, picked up the loose ball and drove his low shot home.

The day only got worse for the Australians after the restart as Uzbekistan controlled possession. Despite an early bobble from Uzbek keeper Kholmurodov, the Central Asias cruised through the second half even enjoying a man advantage after Dylan Tombides was sent off for a studs-up tackle on Javlon Mirabdullaev in the 58th minute. And eight minutes later, the Joeys suffered another heavy blow as Connor Chapman, defending an incoming cross from Davlatbek Yarbekov, deflected the ball into his own net. Uzbekistan, well cushioned by a three-goal lead, put the game away in the 89th minute as substitute Yarbekov hammered home for their fourth of the night.

It was a bitter end for the Australians, as they lost Teeboy Kamara to two cautions in injury time and would thus bid farewell to Mexico 2011. Uzbekistan march on to the quarter-finals where they will face Uruguay on 3 July in Monterrey.