Central Asian heavyweights Uzbekistan showed their class on day one, earning a 6-2 win over Afghanistan in a performance which saw five different players find the back of the net.
Ikhtyior Ropiev, Mashrab Adilov, Ravshan Elibaev, Ilkhonjon Khamroev and Khusniddin Nishonov all found the net for Bakhodir Akhmedov’s side, with the other coming from an Akbar Kazemi own goal.
Kazemi also scored both of Afghanistan’s goals, but his performance couldn’t salvage a positive result for a side aiming to reach the Continental Finals at senior level for the first time.
Quarter-finalists or better in every AFC Futsal Championship this century, Uzbekistan took just four minutes to produce their first goal on the road to Turkmenistan through Adilov, before Kazemi’s own goal doubled the tally four minutes later.
Goalkeeper Elibaev made it 3-0 in the 12th minute, before Kazemi reduced the arrears in the first minute of the second half as Abdul Razaq Momrak’s side eyed an upset.
But back-to-back goals to Khamroev and Ropiev in the 23rd and 35th minutes stretched the scoreline to 5-1, with Kazemi pulling back another one before Nashinov completed the scoring with just over two minutes remaining.
Uzbekistan will look to seal their place at the Finals against Nepal on Thursday, while Afghanistan have it all to do against a confident Tajikistan side.