March 16 – It took penalty shoot-outs for both hosts Uzbekistan and Iraq to overcome South Korea and Japan to qualify for the finals of then AFC U20 Asian Cup Uzbekistan.
In front of a capacity crowd at Bunyodkor Stadium, Uzbekistan played out a goalless 120 goalless minutes against a strong South Korean defence, as they bid to make the final for only the second time in their history.
In the shoot-out Otabek Boymurodov was Uzbekistan’s hero, saving penalties from Kang Seong-jin, Kang Sang-yoon and Kim Ji-soo to take Uzbekistan through.
The other semi-final produced perhaps the surprise of the tournament with Iraq sending home a Japanese team that went into the match with a 100% record.
In a tie that was 2-2 after extra-time, goals were scored in each of the four periods of play. Iraq were a goal up at half time through Ali Jasim but Takatora Einaga’s equaliser for Japan sent the game into extra time.
Iraq again took the lead through Mohammed Jameel before Naoki Kumata came off the bench to score in the second half of extra time.
Iraq went on to win the penalty shoot-out 5-3.
The final will be played on Saturday in Tashkent.
Contact the writer of this story at email@example.com