Saudi Arabia defeat Uzbekistan to win U23 Asian Cup

By Hoang Nguyen   June 19, 2022 | 06:25 pm PT
Saudi Arabia defeat Uzbekistan to win U23 Asian Cup
Saudi Arabia lift the title after defeating hosts Uzbekistan 2-0 in the U23 Asian Cup final on June 19, 2022. Photo by Asian Football Confederation
Saudi Arabia won the 2022 U23 Asian Cup by beating hosts Uzbekistan 2-0 in the final on Sunday night.

Both teams started cautiously without taking risks or pushing forward. Uzbekistan had more possession in the first 15 minutes, but Saudi Arabia's defense was solid.

The Saudis gradually gained control and started to create chances, but Uzbekistan too posed a regular threat. They almost scored in the 33rd minute when Ulugbek Khoshimov passed to Hojimat Erkinov who was in front of goal but missed.

Saudi Arabia got a penalty in the 39th minute when Ahmed Alghamdi was fouled inside the box, but after a VAR review, the referee overturned the decision as another Saudi player had been offside.

The score remained 0-0 in the first half.

After the break Saudi Arabia increased the pressure and four minutes into the second half, they opened the scoring as Hamad Al Yami passed the ball to an unmarked Alghamdi, who dribbled past a Uzbek defender before finishing cleanly to break the tie.

Uzbekistan immediately pushed forward to seek an equalizer and created multiple chances, but could not convert any of them.

In the 71st minute Ruslanbek Jiyanov found the net after getting a through pass and going past Saudi keeper Nawaf Alaqidi, but the referee called it offside.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia kept their composure under pressure and even scored three minutes later as Turki Al-Ammar set up Firas Al-Buraikan in a great position to finish and his accurate shot sealed the 2-0 victory for the guests.

It was the Saudis' first U23 Asian Cup title, and amazingly they won the tournament without conceding a single goal in six matches.

They won 2-0 against Vietnam in the quarterfinals and put two past Australia in the semifinals. Uzbekistan beat Iraq after an intense penalty shootout in the quarterfinals and took down Japan 2-0 in the semifinals. The third-place playoff on Saturday saw Japan beating Australia 3-0.

2022 Asian Cup final: Uzbekistan 0-2 Saudi Arabia

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