Uzbekistan goalkeeper Ignatiy Nesterov claims he does not need to practise penalties as Australia will not make it that far on Tuesday.
Uzbekistan face the Socceroos in the Asian Cup semi-finals on Tuesday evening, with the winner set to face either Japan or South Korea in the final of Asia’s premier football tournament.
Australia came within two minutes of a penalty shootout in Saturday’s quarter-final against Iraq before Harry Kewell nodded the Socceroos into the last four in the 118th minute.
But Nesterov has shrugged off suggestions he should be practising stopping penalties ahead of the game, insisting Uzbekistan will finish off their opponents well before then.
“No. We are not practising any penalties. I am confident that we can wrap it up within the allotted time,” the shot-stopper told the Asian Football Confederation’s official website.
“They are also humans like us. We are not afraid of anyone.”
The 27-year-old, who has conceded four goals in four games in the tournament so far, pinpointed accuracy at set-pieces as the key to Uzbekistan reaching the Asian Cup final, and added that he believes the Central Asian nation have the quality to take the title over Japan or South Korea.
“There is no doubt about it. We have to be very accurate (when it comes to set-pieces),” he said.
“And we have to keep ball possession. If we play our normal passing game it should be okay. We should not make silly mistakes.”
“There is a belief that we can win the title. The mood is very good and everybody is looking forward to the match.”