Turkmenistan coach Yazguly Hojageldyev has called on his side to cut out the mistakes as they look to prevent neighbours Uzbekistan from securing a place in the Asian Cup last 16.
Making only their second appearance at the tournament, Turkmenistan led 1-0 against Japan in their opening Group F game, which they emerged from with plenty of credit after eventually losing 3-2 to one of the favourites for the title.
“It gave us confidence,” said Hojageldyev. “The result wasn’t good for us but it gives us good confidence for the team.
“Nevertheless, we made small mistakes in the game, so we will try to erase these mistakes from the game.
“Of course we still have a chance. Any positive result will give us a boost and our first points. We still have two games.”
Hojageldyev insists Turkmenistan are not looking to avenge the 2004 loss to Uzbekistan in the competition, adding: “I don’t see this game as [a chance for] revenge. It is just history.”
Uzbekistan have not missed the knockout stage since 2000 but, though victory will ensure they continue that record after a narrow 2-1 defeat of Oman, coach Hector Cuper is not underestimating Turkmenistan.
FULL-TIME | 2-1
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“Turkmenistan had a really good performance against Japan, which is one of the big sides of the Asian continent,” said the former Egypt coach. “We can theoretically watch them and analyse them but it’s really different to see them on the pitch.
“They are a team with good discipline and, moreover, they are very good down the left wing. These are the main advantages of Turkmenistan, but each team has their own style and will play their own football.
“The team that will win will be the better prepared team for this game.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Turkmenistan – Arslanmurat Amanov
Cuper identified Turkmenistan’s threat as coming from the left, where Amanov played in the Japan game and marked his performance with a magnificent long-range effort that could well be the goal of the tournament. Uzbekistan will have to be wary of allowing him to cut onto his right.
Uzbekistan – Eldor Shomurodov
Rostov striker Shomurodov scored a fine individual goal to earn all three points against Oman, giving Cuper a possible selection headache after leaving him on the bench for their opening game.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Turkmenistan are without a win in their four Asian Cup games (D1 L3), with each of their three losses coming by a one-goal margin.
– Uzbekistan have scored in each of their group-stage games in the last five Asian Cup tournaments, scoring 25 goals in those 13 games (avg 1.9 goals per game).
– Turkmenistan have seen 15 goals in their four Asian Cup matches (avg 3.8 goals per game), scoring six and conceding nine.
– Uzbekistan are looking to win their opening two group-stage games of an Asian Cup tournament for just the third time in their history, doing so in 2004 and 2011.
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