Uzbekistan and Australia pulled their weight to make it to the Round of 16s.
Palestine and the United Arab Emirates ended their second game in the Group Stages at the AFC Asian Cup 2023 on Thursday with an unexpected 1-1 draw in a tough match.
The match started by observing a minute of silence for Palestinians amid the ongoing genocide in Gaza, as the stadium shook with the voices of nearly 42,000 people chanting: “Free Palestine.”
The atmosphere was different at the Al Janoub Stadium — chants for Palestine echoed throughout the match as rain started pouring.
The crowd booed as the UAE scored and their goalie blocked Palestine’s attempts at scoring.
The heated game saw multiple missed attempts from both sides, as the UAE’s Adill Alamiri got a yellow card within the first 16 minutes. The UAE’s Sultan Adil then scored the team’s first goal within the 23rd minute after tough defence from the Palestinian team.
Within minute 33, Palestine’s Oday Dabbagh was aggressively tackled by the UAE’s Khalifa Al Hammadi, earning him a red card.
The UAE’s Nasser accidentally scored for Palestine within the 53rd minute with a header, leading to celebrations across the stadium.
Uzbekistan wins over India
Over at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Uzbekistan triumphed over India with a 3-0 win, granting the former better chances to qualify for the Round of 16.
Luck was on Uzbekistan’s side at the start of the game, with Uzbekistan’s Abbosbek Fayzullayev scoring the leading goal, assisted by Otabek Shukurov. Uzbekistan’s Igor Sergeyev then scored the second goal by the 18th minute of the first half.
India missed its chance to secure its first goal during the four minutes of extra time before half-time, but Uzbekistan’s Sherzod Nasrullayev seized the opportunity for a third goal through a strategic shot from a very close range to the centre of the goal, ultimately leading to a win for the White Wolves.
Australia qualifies for the Round of 16’s
Australia climbed up to the top of Group B after defeating Syria with a 1-0 win during their match at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium.
The game began with an intense start for the Socceroos after receiving a yellow card during half-time, which ended without a goal.
The game picked up during the second half as Australia’s Jackson Irvine scored his team the goal that placed them in the lead of their group at the AFC Asian Cup 2023, qualifying for the Round of 16.
Irvine had scored Australia’s first goal against India on January 13 in a match that saw the former declare a 2-0 victory.
Australia had not played at the Asian Cup before 2006 and became the champions of the game in 2015.
Syria’s football team played in seven editions of the Asian Cup, but never went beyond the Group Stages.