Uzbekistan maintained their bid to qualify directly for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia at the expense of their opponents by defeating Qatar by a solitary goal at the Bunyodkor stadium in Tashkent on Tuesday.
Uzbekistan came into this game after being shocked by Syria in the previous round while Qatar suffered a narrow loss to group leaders Iran. But Uzbekistan had the chance to cut down second-placed South Korea's lead to just one point with a win tonight and they started well.
But Qatar, who were fighting for survival, would not budge and displayed resolute defending as the Central Asians struggled to find an opening in the first half of the game.
After a frustrating half, Uzbeks came out more determined and forced the opening goal in the 65th minute when they earned a freekick on the left just outside the area. With everyone expecting a right-footed effort to the near post, Shanghai SIPG midfielder Odil Ahmedov sold them the bluff by sending a rasping low shot into the far corner.
Though Uzbekistan fashioned several more chances following the opener, Qatari goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb kept his net from bulging again with good saves, including one from Ahmedov again.
Late on, Qatar thought they had an equaliser when Luiz Junior beat the Uzbekistan goalkeeper but the striker was deemed offside while Uzbek defender Igor Krimetz went on to rattle the cross bar.
But the White Wolves held on to gain all three points which sees them sit third in the group with 12 points from seven games while Qatar are rock bottom with just four points.