Preview. Uzbekistan to struggle with Turkmenistan in Central Asian derby

With three points in the bag after their 2-1 win over Oman, the White Wolves can seal their place in the Round of 16 with a win over their neighbours, and continue their impressive record of not missing the knockout stage since 2000.

Speaking ahead of the tie, Cuper said he had been impressed by a Turkmenistan side which led Japan before ultimately losing 3-2 in their opening match.

Uzbekistan's success against Oman, sealed in the 85th minute by Eldor Shomurodov, was their seventh win in their past nine AFC Asian Cup group stage matches dating back to 2007.

Their recent record in Asia's major championship is admirable and, in Cuper, they have a head coach with the experience of guiding Egypt to the 2017 African Cup of Nations Final.

Cuper's Egyptian outfit were known for an airtight defence, which navigated their first four games without conceding a goal, but the Argentine said there is different blueprint for his current side.

Turkmenistan approach Sunday's clash boosted by their impressive introduction against Japan, with a thumping opener from Arslan Amanov and Ahmey Atayev's late penalty contributing to a performance which pushed the four-time champions all the way.

The two sides have rarely met on the international stage in recent years, although they did cross paths in Turkmenistan's last appearance at the AFC Asian Cup Finals in 2004, with Uzbekistan winning 1-0 to eliminate their regional rivals, not that it is of any interest to Hojageldyev.


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