Iran and Uzbekistan are set for what looms as a tournament-deciding showdown on Tuesday, after both teams swept to victories in their opening three matches at the CAFA U-19 Girl's Futsal Championship in Tajikistan.
Back-to-back Asian women’s futsal champions at senior level, Iran have racked up more than 40 goals in a trio of dominant wins, while Uzbekistan’s success has come in more competitive duals against Turkmenistan, Kyrgyz Republic and Afghanistan, setting the stage for a crucial clash on Tuesday.
While Iran have been untouchable in the opening days, only goal difference prevents Uzbekistan from the top of the table, after Rustam Aripov’s team strung together three successive wins themselves.
After a 4-1 success against Turkmenistan on the opening day, Uzbekistan emerged victorious from a 7-4 thriller against Kyrgyz Republic, before underlining their title credentials with a trouble-free 3-0 win over Afghanistan on Sunday.
Football international Shahnoza Kurbonova has been the star for Uzbekistan.
The 19-year-old – who once bagged seven goals in a single AFC U-16 Women’s Championship qualifier against Bahrain back in 2014 – has led the way for her side with six goals, including four in Saturday’s see-sawing battle with Kyrgyz Republic.