Uzbekistan’s Shohjahon Abbasov tries to tackle Jesus Araya of Panama during their Group C, FIFA U-17 World Cup match at Fujairah Stadium on October 18, 2013, in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)
FUJAIRAH, UAE – Uzbekistan scored a pair of second-half goals to defeat Panama 2-0 in the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup opener for both at Fujairah Club Stadium on Friday.
Shohjahon Abbasov put Uzbekistan in front in the 68th minute, toe-poking Dostonbek Khamdamov’s free kick into the net from inside the six-yard box.
Panama was victimized on another set piece eight minutes later, when defender Rustamjon Ashurmatov doubled Uzbekistan’s lead, pouncing on a ball that was headed in the box off a corner kick and slotting a low shot inside the near post from 14-yards out.
The insurance goal came a few moments after a Khamdamov effort from distance was parried away by Panamanian goalkeeper Jaime De Gracia.
Panama, which is competing in its second straight U-17 World Cup, had a chance to take the lead six minutes before half-time. Milciades Molina made a penetrating run into the Uzbekistan 18-yard box and tried to connect with Ismael Diaz, but Uzbekistan goalkeeper Sarvar Karimov snuffed out the low cross in front of the net.
In the 49th minute, Molina had time and space to unleash a shot from 22-yards out that glanced off the crossbar.
Four minutes later, Ashurmatov latched onto a corner kick, but his open header from 10-yards out went directly to De Gracia.
Panama continues Group C play on Monday against Croatia, which dropped a 3-1 decision to Morocco earlier in the day.