Tashkent: Targets from Sardar Azmoun and Mehdi Taremi proved decisive as Islamic Republic of Iran beat Uzbekistan 2-1 in a world pleasant at Pakhtakor Stadium on Thursday.
In a long-awaited first outing beneath new coach Dragan Skočić, Workforce Melli’s star attacking duo every discovered the again of the online – Azmoun with a 25-yard rocket simply earlier than half-time, Taremi with a second half penalty – earlier than Eldor Shomurodov pulled a aim again for the hosts within the 53rd minute.
Uzbekistan will meet United Arab Emirates in one other pleasant in Dubai on Monday, whereas Iran will face Mali in Antalya, Turkey the next day.
With entry to their overseas-based gamers for the primary time in the most effective a part of a yr, each Skočić, and Uzbekistan boss Vadim Arbamov named sturdy beginning line-ups, nevertheless it was an area, Bunyodkor’s Sanjar Kodirkulov, who got here closest to opening the scoring when his volley rattled the woodwork simply earlier than the half-hour mark.
It was Azmoun, whoever, who made the most important impression within the first-half, punishing some hesitant Uzbek defending to rifle the Iranians into the lead with a terrific strike from exterior the penalty space within the forty fourth minute.
The guests went into the interval in entrance, they usually duly doubled their benefit within the 51st minute, with FC Porto’s Taremi easing a spot-kick previous Eldor Suyunov, having being felled by the Uzbek goalkeeper when by on aim moments earlier
Uzbekistan pulled a aim again by their very own star striker Shomurodov simply two minutes later; the 25-year-old celebrating his signing with Italian Serie A outfit Genoa by expertly inserting the ball into the underside nook of the online on the flip after being provided by Kodirkulov.
Each Abramov and Skočić made a raft of modifications because the match wore on, essentially the most notable arrival being Igor Golban, the previous Russian U-21 worldwide who made his first look within the senior Uzbek shirt on the age of 30.
The hosts nearly equalised when Rustam Ashurmatov’s speculative free-kick was touched onto the crossbar by Iranian goalkeeper Payam Niazmand, whereas Suyunov produced a high quality reflex save to disclaim Taremi on the different finish, however neither facet was ready so as to add to the scoring as Workforce Melli made a successful begin to the Skočić period.
Photographs: Uzbekistan Soccer Affiliation