Uzbekistan reach the Asian Cup quarter-finals after drawing 2-2 with China in a topsy-turvy and fiercely contested final Group A game at the Al Gharafa Stadium.
Having fallen behind early on, Uzbekistan equalised and then went ahead early in the second period through a fine long-distance effort from one-time CSKA Moscow forward Alexander Geynrikh.
Schalke midfielder Hao Junmin brought the East Asian champions level with a magnificent free-kick but despite sustained pressure China could not find a winner that would have brought qualification down to head-to-head records.
Yu Hai had given China the lead in the sixth minute, in front of a disappointing crowd of just 3,529, with Odil Akhmedov replying for Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan finished top of Group A and will play the runners-up in Group B — one of Japan, Jordan or Syria.
In another Group A match, host nation Qatar beat Kuwait 3-0 to advance into the quarter finals while sending Kuwait packing from the Asian Cup. The win saw Qatar finishing second and making it into the last eight for the first time since 2000.
Captain Bilal Mohammed got the opening goal on 11 minutes after a blistering start from the 2022 World Cup hosts with Mohamed El Sayed scoring the second five minutes later.
Brazilian-born substitute Fabio Cesar put the game beyond doubt four minutes from time with a beautifully weighted free kick that left the goalkeeper stranded.
It capped a remarkable comeback by Qatar, who lost their opening match to the Uzbeks 2-0 then rebounded to beat China by the same score line before Sunday’s heroics.
They now face whoever finishes top in Group B, which will be either Japan, Jordan or Syria, for a place in the semi-finals.