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07 sep 10:20

2014WCQ (playoff 1st leg): Jordan 1-1 Uzbekistan

Server Djeparov capped a captain’s display with a crucial first-half equaliser as Uzbekistan edged a step closer to a maiden FIFA World Cup appearance after deservedly claiming a 1-1 draw in Friday’s play-off first leg against Jordan at King Abdullah International Stadium.
With both sides chasing a first appearance at the finals having finished third in their respective groups during the final round group stage, Uzbekistan enjoyed the better start only for Mus’ab Al Lahham to break the deadlock against the run of play 15 minutes before half-time as the midfielder started and finished an eye-catching team move.

But the lead lasted just five minutes as Djeparov capped a fine individual display to hand Mirdjalal Kasimov’s side the advantage ahead of next week’s second leg in Tashkent with the winner advancing to an intercontinental play-off with South American opposition in November.

Uzbekistan made a bright start with captain Djeparov instrumental for the visitors, although it was midfield partner Odil Ahmedov who was the first to test goalkeeper Amer Shafi after 13 minutes with the Jordan custodian acrobatically pushing a speculative long range effort over the crossbar.

The lead, though, lasted just five minutes as the lively Jasur Khasanov found Djeparov charging into the penalty area and the Uzbekistan captain swept home the perfectly weighted pull back with Shafi only able to help the weak shot into the bottom corner.

And Uzbekistan finished the opening 45 minutes on top as Shafi took no chances and pushed a vicious swerving strike from Khasanov over the crossbar just before half-time before unconvincingly palming away a similar rising effort from Djeparov in stoppage time.

Chances were at a premium at the start of the second half although Uzbekistan remained the dominant side with Jordan struggling for ideas in the final third to the frustration of the majority of the 17,000 crowd.


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