KUALA LUMPUR, July 14 (Reuters) - Maksim Shatskikh made a triumphant return from suspension to spark Uzbekistan to a 5-0 drubbing of hosts Malaysia in Asian Cup Group C on Saturday.
Captain Shatskikh, suspended for Uzbekistan's 2-1 loss to
Iran, scored twice as his side revived their hopes of reaching
Tournament co-hosts Malaysia face almost certain
elimination following their opening 5-1 defeat by China.
Striker Shatskikh, who plays for Dynamo Kiev, opened the
scoring in the 10th minute, Timur Kapadze scored a classy goal
on 20 minutes and Ulugbek Bakaev stroked home a penalty in
first-half stoppage time to give Uzbekistan a 3-0 lead.
Substitute Aziz Ibragimov added a fourth after 85 minutes
and Shatskikh struck four minutes later to give the Uzbeks
three points from two matches, level with China and Iran who
meet on Sunday.
Despite being named man of the match, Shatskikh was unhappy
with his performance.
'I'm not into assessing my own play, I leave that up to the
coaches,' he told a news conference. 'But I what I can say that
I did not do enough today. It was difficult to play in this hot
climate but we won because we were able to take our chances.'
Shatskikh added much-needed firepower to the forward line
and became the first player from his team to score a goal in
the competition. Against Iran, they scored via an own-goal from
defender Rahman Rezaei.
Server Djeparov's 10th-minute free kick from the right
bounced past the Malaysian defence and Shatskikh was free at
the far post to score with an easy header.
Malaysia, vilified for their poor performance against
China, appeared more determined against the Uzbeks.
However, any hopes of a comeback were dashed by Kapadze's
brilliance. The Pakhtakor midfielder bamboozled centre-back
Khaironnisam Hussain before ghosting through two more defenders
to slot the ball past goalkeeper Azizon Kadir.
Azizon gave away the third goal seconds before halftime
when he brought down Bakaev, who converted the resultant
Ibragimov made it 4-0 five minutes from the end when he
turned in Pavel Solomin's cross and Shatskikh completed the
rout by hitting the target from close range after a pass from