Turkmenistan vs Uzbekistan
Competition: AFC Asian Cup
Date: 13 January 2019
Kick-off: 17:00 CET
Turkmenistan lost 3-2 to Japan on Wednesday, despite taking the lead in the 26th minute and generally looking fantastic in the first half hour of the match. They left me with the impression that what they lacked was… leadership, someone to yell at the players to stop defending that-that deep. Defending (especially against a stronger opponent, while winning) is one thing, but defending way-way too deep is another thing. Between the 30th and the 70th minute, at least three Japanese players were practically… camped inside Turkmenistan’s box, partly because they were allowed to. Japan missed a chance, another one, another one, but it was a matter of time to score, as they were allowed to be very close to Turkmenistan’s goal. Once they finally scored, in the 56th minute, they simply… kept on scoring. By the 71st, it was 3-1. Turkmenistan got a goal back from the penalty spot in the 79th minute, but… even the scorer’s reaction, not running to pick the ball up from the net, showed that they didn’t believe they could avoid defeat. No Turkmenistan player ran to pick the ball up. On the other hand, when Japan scored their second one, the scorer himself picked the ball up and went back to the center, as if saying “we’re not done scoring”. Little details that make a huge difference…
Héctor Cúper’s team were considered favorites the other day when they faced Oman on their Asian Cup debut, and they justified that title, despite… suffering to win the game. In the first half, they had a goalkeeper who simply refused to get beaten. Nesterov was impressive, and so was Akhmedov at the other end. His free-kick in the 34th minute was… a piece of art. That curve he gave to the ball, you can watch it a dozen times and still not have enough of it. Truth is, Nesterov made a couple of mistakes in the second half, even in Oman’s equalizer he could have done much better, but Uzbekistan didn’t give up, they showed they were only interested in winning, not drawing, and Shomurodov scored the winner in the 85th minute, having come off the bench a while earlier.
Previous five matches:
Japan vs Turkmenistan 3-2
Afghanistan vs Turkmenistan 0-2
Bahrain vs Turkmenistan 4-0
Turkmenistan vs Taiwan 2-1
Turkmenistan vs Singapore 2-1
Uzbekistan vs Oman 2-1
Uzbekistan vs South Korea 0-4
Uzbekistan vs Lebanon 0-0
Uzbekistan vs Qatar 2-0
Uzbekistan vs North Korea 2-0
Turkmenistan’s next game is against Oman, on Thursday. Same day, Uzbekistan will be playing against Japan.
Turkmenistan vs Uzbekistan: Head to head Stats
These two have played against each other seven times in the past, and Uzbekistan have won every single game, by a total score of 18-2(!).
Turkmenistan vs Uzbekistan: Prediction
Both teams’ first matches in the tournament left me with the impression that Uzbekistan are better prepared, mentally, to do well. I’m backing them to win this one.
Turkmenistan vs Uzbekistan: Betting Tips
A simple Uzbekistan win is at 1.53, but combined with “over 1.5” that goes up to a satisfying 1.91.