June 5, 2012 / 8:12 AM / 6 years ago

Soccer-Uzbekistan replace coach after World Cup defeat

June 5 (Reuters) - Uzbekistan have replaced coach Vadim Abramov with former boss Mirjalol Kasimov after losing their opening World Cup fourth round group match at home to Iran on Sunday.

A statement from the Uzbekistan Football Federation announced the surprise move after the 1-0 loss in Tashkent, where the hosts were denied a goal despite a 75th minute shot from Odil Akhmedov appearing to cross the Iranian line.

Iran, who had created few chances in the match, then scored the winner in the fourth minute of stoppage time.

Uzbekistan had performed strongly throughout the match despite missing five players, including Asian player-of-the-year Server Djeparov, through suspension after FIFA had banned them for deliberately earning yellow cards in the previous stage to avoid carrying over bans.

Uzbekistan, who have never qualified for a World Cup, had finished top of their third round group featuring Asian Champions Japan under Abramov, who had also led them to a best-finish of fourth in the Asian Cup last year.

Kasimov, whose previous near two year spell in charge ended in April 2010, has little time to prepare the team before they travel to Beirut to play Lebanon in their second Group A clash on Friday.

The top two from the group, also featuring Qatar and South Korea, qualify for the finals in Brazil with the third placed side remaining in contention for the finals but needing to win through two playoffs. (Reporting by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; editing by Ossian Shine)

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