Tajikistan and the UAE compete at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar, on Sunday (January 28) for a place in the quarterfinal of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.
Despite collecting only four points in three group games, Tajikistan have reached the Round of 16, with Lebanon and China faring worse.
The Persian Lions began their campaign with a goalless draw to China before losing 1-0 to hosts Qatar in their next outing, but a 2-1 win over Lebanon on matchday three paved their way here.
In what’s their first appearance in the competition, Tajikistan have reached the knockouts. Now, their campaign faces another tough challenge from the UAE.
The Sons of Zayed also collected only four points in the group stage but finished ahead of Palestine, who had accrued a similar number of points, in second place by virtue of goal difference.
Paulo Bento’s side overcame Hong Kong 3-1 in their opening clash before a 1-1 draw with Palestine. In their final group game, Iran beat them 2-1, but the UAE still progressed.