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Uzbeks hold Japan to a tie in World Cup qualifier
Uzbeks hold Japan to a tie in World Cup qualifier - Central Asia News Afghanistan Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Uzbekistan Tajikistan Turkmenistan-Sports Business and Entertainment
Central Asia On line and wire services
SAITAMA, Oct. 14—Uzbekistan clinched their first point in the final round of FIFA World Cup qualifying as they drew 1-1 with Japan at Saitama Stadium on Oct. 14.
Goalkeeper Ignatiy Nesterov was the key figure for the Uzbeks, as he delivered a superlative performance to deny Japan a win.
Uzbek striker Maksim Shatskikh put his team ahead at 27 minutes when he made the most of an opposition error. Japan midfielder Marcus Tulio Tanaka tried to clear the ball in midfield with a bicycle kick. Instead, the ball landed directly in front of Ildar Magdeev who headed it to Timur Kapadze. Kapadze passed the ball to Shatskikh, who fired a shot past Japan keeper Seigo Narazaki.
Striking back, Japan’s Yasuhito Endo put a shot on Nesterov from the edge of the box, but it was deflected wide. The Uzbek goalie was tested again when he slapped away a free-kick from Shunsuke Nakamura.
Japan finally tied the game in the 40th minute, when Keiji Tamada’s shot got past Nesterov. After drawing level, Takeshi Okada’s side battled on in an effort to obtain a winning goal. But they were left frustrated by Uzbekistan’s stubborn defending.
Nesterov was called into the action in the second-half on two plays, first making a superb save to deny Tamada in the 70th minute. The Pakhtakor keeper then made an all-important save when he turned away Tulio’s header a minute before the final whistle to give Uzbekistan a point for their effort. [Goal.com]