DOHA: Tajikistan advanced to the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ quarter-finals after a hard-fought 5-3 penalty shootout win over United Arab Emirates while Australia beat Indonesia 4-0 thanks to an own goal by Elkan Baggott and a diving header from Martin Boyle.

The match was forced into an additional 30 minutes after UAE’s Khalifa Al Hammadi scored in the fifth minute of second half added time to cancel out Vahdat Hanonov’s opener at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium.

Goalkeeper Rustam Yatimov was Tajikistan’s hero, judging correctly to deny Caio Canedo’s penalty when the shootout was tied 1-1 as the Central Asian side extended their debut campaign to the quarter-finals, with either Iraq or Jordan their next opponents.

Both teams showed plenty of attacking intent right from the onset with UAE having the first sights at goal. The chance came within the opening minute as Fabio Lima’s free-kick was palmed away by Tajik goalkeeper Yatimov, followed by striker Canedo’s attempt from outside the box that sailed too high five minutes later.

However, it was Tajikistan who opened the scoring after defender Zoir Dzhuraboev’s inch perfect cross was headed into the bottom left corner of the UAE goal by Hanonov just as the match hit the half-hour mark.

UAE almost responded immediately with Zayed Sultan’s right-footed attempt from the centre of the Tajikistan box forcing Yatimov into making a diving save.

The Emiratis spent the rest of the first half continuing to make forays into the Tajik penalty area, with charges from the likes of Canedo, Lima and Yahya Al Ghassani, but failed to find a way through.

The second half began in similar fashion with both teams maintaining their offensive mindset but it was once again the tournament debutants who came close to doubling their lead with Ehson Panjshabe and Alisher Dzhalilov forcing saves out of UAE captain Khalid Eisa.

Tajikistan should have gone further ahead in the 60th minute when Parvizdzhon Umarbayev’s through ball found Dzhalilov just outside the box, but the Istiklol midfielder shot straight at Eisa.

Dzhalilov had another great chance 10 minutes later when Shahrom Samiev sped down the right flank before floating a beautiful cross but the number 10 wasted the golden opportunity by sending the ball wide.

The missed chances cost Tajikistan as UAE equalised right at the end, with defender Al Hammadi rising high to nod home Ali Saleh’s free-kick in the fifth minute of added time, taking the game to an additional 30 minutes.

Neither side looked eager to take risks in added time with Yatimov producing the only save of the shootout to ensure Tajikistan’s dream campaign continued.

Australia through

Australia moved through to the quarter-finals after an own goal by Elkan Baggott and a diving header from Martin Boyle secured a 4-0 win over Indonesia at Jassim bin Hamid Stadium.

Graham Arnold’s side will take on either Saudi Arabia or Korea Republic next Friday with a place in the semi-finals at stake as the Australians look to claim a second AFC Asian Cup title after previously winning on home soil in 2015.

The Australians took the lead in the 12th minute after Jackson Irvine’s shot went in off Baggott before doubling their advantage in the final minute of the half when Boyle threw himself at Gethin Jones’ cross from the right.

Craig Goodwin added the third a minute from time with a well-struck volley and, little more than two minutes later, Harry Souttar headed in Australia’s fourth.

Boyle’s goal gave the Australians the cushion needed to see off an opponent that refused to be overawed despite the gap between the teams in the FIFA rankings, with Shin Tae-yong’s side rated 121 places behind the Socceroos but showing few signs that such a gulf existed.

By the sixth minute they had carved out a sight of goal, Rafael Struick looping his first-time shot from close-range over the bar after a period of possession had culminated in Justin Hubner’s driving in his cross from the left.

So it was unfortunate when Team Garuda went behind in the 12th minute following Irvine’s burst into the penalty area, the midfielder shrugging off Shayne Pattynama’s challenge before hitting a shot that hit Baggott before beating Ernando Ari at his near post.

Six minutes from the break Hubner fed Marselino Ferdinan down the right and his cross arced towards the far side of the penalty area, from where Yakob Sayuri smashed his first-time volley wide of the target.

However, the Socceroos delivered a sucker punch to Indonesia’s hopes in the 45th minute, Jones sending over a low cross from the right that bounced inside the six-yard box and Boyle (pictured above) threw himself forward headfirst to power the ball in.

Indonesia continued to push in an effort to give their indefatigable fans hope but the result was put beyond doubt a minute from time when Goodwin volleyed in having seen Ernando parried his save of Irvine’s header into the substitute’s path.

Goodwin then turned provider two minutes later, setting up Souttar to glance his close-range header home.

###############