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Tajikistan write history by reaching the Quarter Finals of the Asian cup.

After beating United Arab Emirates on penalties in the Round of 16, they will now be facing Jordan on Friday.


The debutants went 1-0 up when Vakhdat Khanonov scored with a 30th-minute header, only for Khalifa Al-Hammadi to equalise in the 95th minute and send the game into extra-time. Yet Tajikistan kept their heads held high and went on to win 5-3 on penalties.

 

To make it even more of a surprise, the UAE reached the semi-finals at the last two Asian Cups but Paulo Bento's side bowed out to a Tajikistan side ranked more than 40 places lower than them in the FIFA World Rankings.

 

In the group stage, the Crowns only won 1 game when they beat Lebanon after a 92nd minute winner by Nuriddin Khamrokulov. They also went on to draw against China which knocked another favourite out of the competition. Tajikistan finished 2nd in Group A which forced them into the tie against the UAE.


The majority of their players play in the Tajikistan league, which is classed as a semi-professional league, whereas many of the players they have been up against are used to playing full-time football.

 

The Crown will play Jordan on Friday at 11:30am where they will play their hearts out and hopefully go on to see themselves in the semi-finals.


Jordan where one of the best 3rd placed teams and managed to beat Malaysia a stunning 4-0 whilst also gaining a point to Son Heung Min’s South Korean side. In the round of 16 they beat Iraq 3-2, so they are also coming into this tie-on fine form. They did end their game against Iraq with 10 men when Hamza AI-Dardour got sent off in the 96th minute; he will now miss their game against Tajikistan.

 

Tajikistan have stolen the hearts of so many. Do you think they can go one step further and reach the semi-finals?


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