Asian Cup: Tajikistan vs. Qatar Match Preview, Predictions, Team News, Line-ups
The Maroon trounced Lebanon 3-0 in the tournament’s opening match, while the Crowns had to settle for a 0-0 draw with China.
Despite the fact that it might have been their first-ever meeting in the Asian Cup, Tajikistan did not appear intimidated and spent a significant amount of the match pressing China.
Even though they now have six games without a loss across all competitions, Petar Segrt will view the outcome as a lost chance because his young squad was the aggressors for large portions of the game.
After the Crowns scored 13 goals in their five previous meetings, the tie with China marked the first time this team has failed to score since March 2023 (a 0-0 draw with the United Arab Emirates).
Although Segrt is known for being an aggressive coach who gives his players the opportunity to advance whenever they want, he has recently witnessed Tajikistan play with a much sharper defence, giving up one goal or fewer in six straight games.
They have not been held off the scoreboard in a straight game since playing to a pair of 0-0 draws in November 2022 (against Russia) and March 2023 (against the United Arab Emirates). They have not lost to an Asian team since June 2023 (5-1 loss to Uzbekistan).
They haven’t played each other internationally in more than ten years, with Tajikistan winning their only meeting 2-1 in a friendly in 2012.
From the first whistle on Friday, an energetic and competitive Qatari team looked sharp, and they were rewarded with a well-deserved victory.
Even though it took them almost the whole first half hour to take the lead, their perseverance paid off as the Maroon scored three or more goals in a game for the fourth time in their previous five games.
If the Chinese team wins on matchday two and China wins or draws against Lebanon, the defending Asian champions would make it into the round of 16 for the first time.
The Maroon have won their last four Asian Cup group matches by a total score of 13-0, and they haven’t lost a group stage match in this event since they fell 2-1 to Bahrain in 2015.
This team has been fierce defensively and offensively since Tintin Marquez took over for Carlos Queiroz in December. Under his leadership, the club has only given up in one of his games (a 2-1 loss to Jordan).
In their four meetings with Tajikistan so far, Qatar has won three of them and has never been held scoreless.
Tajikistan Asian Cup form:
Tajikistan form (all competitions):
W W D W W D
Qatar Asian Cup form:
Qatar form (all competitions):
L W W W L W
Rustam Yatimov, Alisher Shukurov, and Amadoni Kamolov replaced Mukhriddin Khasanov, Parvizdzhon Umarbayev, and Amirbek Dzhuraboyev in Segrt’s starting lineup on Saturday.
Merely two behind colleague Mukhammadzhon Rakhimov for sixth place all-time, Ehson Panjshanbe and skipper Parvizdzhon Umarbayev are only four caps away from reaching 50.
This squad is still looking for their first-ever goal at this event, as evidenced by the goals Rustam Soirov and Shahrom Samiev scored in their 2-1 victory over Hong Kong at the start of 2024.
On the first day of play, Homam Ahmed and Mostafa Meshaal were replaced by two newcomers to the Qatari team: Al-Mahdi Ali Mukhtar and Yusuf Abdurisag, who did not start their match against Jordan.
Despite sitting out their first game, Ro-Ro is still 10 caps short of 100, and Boualem Khoukhi is still at 113, one fewer than Bilal Mohammed for sixth place all-time.
In their win over Lebanon, Akram Afif scored twice, tying him for eighth place all-time with 29 goals for the national team with Mahmoud Soufi.
Meanwhile, record goal scorer Almoez Ali scored his 51 goals while playing for the Maroon, while Meshaal Barsham made five saves to keep a clean sheet.
Tajikistan possible starting lineup:
Yatimov; Safarov, Khanonov, Dzhuraboyev, Nazarov; Shukurov, Umarbayev; Ayni, Dzhalilov, Panjshanbe; Soirov
Qatar possible starting lineup:
Barsham; Miguel, Mukhtar, Mendes; Mohammed, Al-Haydos, Fatehi, Hatem; Gaber; Afif, Ali
Our Prediction for this match 2-0 or 3-1 won by Qatar