Kasimov slams Saudi simulation
Uzbekistan coach Mirjalol Kasimov slammed Saudi Arabia's players for persistent diving during his team's 3-1 win at the Asian Cup on Sunday.
Victory sent the Uzbeks through to the tournament quarter-finals at their opponents' expense, but the coach was not all smiles afterwards.
Having taken the lead early on at AAMI Park, Kasimov's side had a questionable penalty awarded against them in the second half of the game in Melbourne, forcing them to mount a late comeback to secure progression to the quarter-finals of the competition.
Addressing the media post-match, the head coach took aim at the opposition's players, accusing them of influencing the decision-making of Australian referee Ben Williams.
"I saw that the Saudis were asking for a penalty every time, so maybe it was a mistake from the referee," he said when quizzed on the 60th-minute spot-kick.
"Many times they dived or committed simulation, the referee should have given them a yellow card. Because of the amount of time they dived, the referee started to believe them."
South Korea stand between Uzbekistan and the semi-finals, and Kasimov's men will be keen for reveng in Melbourne, having been denied a place at last year's World Cup on goal difference behind the Taeguk Warriors.
Asked if his players were determined to get their own back for the decisive 1-0 loss in Ulsan in 2013, he said: "We want it, we always think about the defeat to Korea and our players will do their best (to avenge it)."
Saudi Arabia coach Cosmin Olaroiu was left frustrated by his side's efforts after drawing level through the controversial spot-kick.
A point would have taken the Saudis through on goal difference but they could not hang on.
He said: "When you make mistakes like we did today sometimes you pay the price and the price today was qualification.
"Unfortunately we started very badly with the mistake we made. When we came back we made another one and sometimes football is like this, you have to pay the price.
"Uzbekistan were stronger than us, they played until the very end and earned their qualification."