Fujairah: Morocco and Uzbekistan shared the spoils in a dour goalless draw in the second match of Group C at Fujairah Stadium on Monday.
Despite dominating the first half Morocco never made their chances count. The best effort from Hamza Sakhi bounced off the underside of the crossbar and onto the line before being cleared on 15 minutes.
Uzbekistan came back stronger in the second half but in the end it was end-to-end counter attacking football, which never amounted to anything.
Morocco were left questioning the decision of the linesman after the first quarter when Hamza Sakhi’s long shot clipped the underside of the crossbar and bounced down onto the line before a clearance.
It followed an earlier drive toward goal from Karim Achabar, who looked prone to add to his tally having scored a brace in Morocco’s opening 3-1 win over Croatia last Friday.
Before the half hour Achabar also miscued a free shot in front of goal from Nabil Jaadi’s cross, as the Moroccan’s upped the tempo spurred on by their vocal traveling support. But Achabar continued to let their cries go unanswered up until the interval, heading Achraf Achaoui’s cross over the bar.
All the while Uzbekistan keeper Sarvar Karimov commanded his area well and rarely looked flustered by Morocco’s ceaseless attack.
Fortunately for Karimov his teammates started to perform better in the second half but Uzbek efforts to push further up field only resulted in more space for Morocco to break back on the counter.
One such opportunity saw Achabar’s overhead kick from a cross amount to nothing, while another two chances allowed Younus Marzouk into the area on winding runs before hitting the ball over and wide.
Uzbekistan had a chance from a freekick after Ibrokhim Abdullaev headed the ball back into danger after it had appeared to be going out and Shohjahon Abbasov later sent his near post header over from a corner, but in the end neither side could break each other down.