Wuhan: Uzbekistan hopes of qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup were dealt a blow after a late Gao Lin penalty secured a 1-0 win for China at the Wuhan Sports Centre Stadium on Thursday.
The win also keeps alive China’s slim chances of finishing third in Group A and securing the play-off place, as they head to Qatar for the final qualifier of the campaign.
Both teams were guilty of spurning chances early in an open and attacking affair, with Igor Sergeev having the best of the chances just minutes after half-time.
The key moment came with just over five minutes remaining when Anzur Ismailov fouled Feng Xiaoting inside the penalty box. Gao Lin stepped up to take the crucial spot-kick and coolly converted past Ignatiy Nesterov to earn a crucial three points for his side.
The loss means Uzbekistan now drop to fourth in Group A after Syria’s win over Qatar saw the Syrians jump into third spot, meaning even a win over Korea Republic on the final match day in Tashkent might not be enough for Uzbekistan to secure automatic qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.