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  • Lyudmila Karachik has scored prolifically for Bunyodkor and Uzbekistan
  • She talks about being inspired by Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Karachik is eager to fire Uzbekistan to the 2023 global finals

If an Ironwoman Footballer award existed in football, Lyudmila Karachik would certainly be a contender for it. The 25-year-old, indeed, hasn’t missed a single match since joining Bunyodkor in 2018, managing 77 goals from 68 appearances in all competitions. Notably, Karachik finished as the leading markswoman in last season’s Uzbekistan league with a record 42 goals.

That wasn’t, however, achieved without sacrifice. Karachik got injured in last year’s Uzbek Women’s Super Cup against Sevinch and was on the point of asking to be substituted. Despite the pain caused by the injury, however, she kept playing and scored the match-winning goal.

Her perseverance has been demonstrated again this year. Despite the difficulties presented by COVID-19, Karachik has managed to maintain her fitness and form. She bagged a brace in this year’s Uzbek Women’s Super Cup on 31 May as Bunyodkor registered a comfortable 4-1 victory over Sevinch yet again.

“The virus has made life hard for every one of us,” the in-form striker told “But I have kept working hard. I was aware what preparation it required for us to defend the Super Cup title. And I was happy to see that my efforts paid off and we lifted the trophy.

“Needless to say, it was down to the collective efforts of the entire team. We all worked hard during lockdown and we readied ourselves for the competition. We put in our best performances against strong opposition and we won.”

Karachik has loved football since an early age. So much so that, when her parents called her in off the streets, where she would kick the ball around with boys, she would ignore them.

“I was so fond of football and was very focused on playing,” she said. “And it was impossible to tear me away when I was kicking a ball.” (laughs)

Just as every youngster has an idol, Karachik’s is none other than Cristiano Ronaldo.

“I have followed Ronaldo’s play on TV since childhood,” she said. “I am always amazed by what he is capable of on the pitch – his technique, speed and, above all, his attitude towards work.

“He is always working the hardest in training, so it is no surprise that he has accomplished so much in football. He has been an inspiring figure for me all these years.”

Karachik’s precocious talent was first noticed by Khushbegi, who recruited her as a 15-year-old. The next year she was spotted by the then Uzbekistan U-19 coach Elmira Gulamova, who called her up. By playing for her country, Karachik’s career turned over a new leaf.

“She has changed the course of my life,” Karachik said of Gulamova, now her coach at Bunyodkor. “She saw my potential and offered me the chance of playing for the national [youth] team and then Bunyodkor.

“She helped me improve from an amateur player to a professional footballer. She has encouraged me to become a better player all these years. She is my mentor in not only football but life.”

Karachik made fast progress with the Uzbekistan youth team and was promoted to the senior squad the following year. She has since hit 21 goals in 28 internationals.

Karachik scored three times during qualification for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2018, before netting two goals in Asian qualifying for the next Women’s Olympic Football Tournament. Uzbekistan failed to reach both of those competitions, but Karachik is hopeful for the future.

“We have gained good international experience,” she said. “We have improved by playing against stronger opponents. We have realised that we have to improve in both physical and technical terms if we are to compete against Asia’s best teams.”

The decision to expand the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ to 32 nations for the 2023 edition in Australia and New Zealand heightened Karachik’s hopes of playing on the most prestigious platform of all.

“Scoring for my country is special – emotions always go off scale when you find the back of the net in an international game,” she said. “It gives you incredible pride.

“We all dream of going to the Women’s World Cup. We will strive to go through the qualification campaign so we can see our national flag in the Women’s World Cup. We have everything necessary to achieve it: desire and hard work. But perhaps we need that extra ounce of luck. For me, it would be the highlight of my career and I will do whatever I can to achieve it.”

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FIFA Club World Cup 2020 – News – Flick: World title would be icing on Bayern’s cake


  • Bayern Munich’s FIFA Club World Cup campaign begins on 8 February
  • German giants will meet Al Duhail or Al Ahly in the semi-finals
  • For coach Hansi Flick, winning in Qatar would cap a fantastic season

A win at the FIFA Club World Cup 2020™ would see Hans-Dieter Flick and Bayern Munich make history by becoming only the second team after Barcelona (in 2009) to win all six domestic and international titles up for grabs in one season. And yet despite the enormity of the occasion, the coach says that he does not feel under any particular pressure.

“It’s always the case at Bayern Munich that you want to have the most successful season possible,” said Flick, “and after the treble, you’re obviously looking at the FIFA Club World Cup. We’re quite simply motivated to win something else, so we’re all obviously really looking forward to the Club World Cup.”

The record German league winners will get their campaign under way on 8 February in the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Qatar. The draw that was made on Tuesday 19 January in Zurich pitted them against whoever comes through the quarter-final between last season’s league champions in the host nation Al Duhail SC (Qatar) and the CAF Champions League winners Al Ahly SC (Egypt).

That would probably be the icing on the cake, but it’s obviously going to be a challenge. Everyone I’ve spoken to has said that it’s a wonderful competition, so we’re looking forward to the whole event and hoping that we can have a successful tournament.

Hansi Flick

Flick has four players in his ranks who know what it takes to win the FIFA Club World Cup, with captain and current The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, FIFA World Cup™ winners Thomas Muller and Jerome Boateng, and Austria’s David Alaba all part of the successful 2013 campaign for the club. Back then, Pep Guardiola was in charge when Bayern won the final in Morocco 2-0 courtesy of goals from Thiago and Dante. According to Flick, everyone had a positive experience of that victorious tournament.

“All of them, including Hermann Gerland, who was already on the coaching staff back then, said that it quite simply a wonderful event and that it’s fun to take part in it, pure and simple. And if we can have the same success that they did in 2013, then that will make it a whole lot of fun and a unique event, which is exactly the kind of experience we’re looking to have this year with the team.”

A Club World Cup brings together not merely the best teams in a particular continent, but the cream of club football from all around the world – something that the Bayern coach was quick to underline.

“I know what it’s like from working with the national team. At European Championships, or for us in the Champions League, you always play European teams. Coming up against South American, Asian or African sides is always a little bit different in terms of the mentality of your opponents. On the one hand, as I’ve just said, it’s the mindset and the way the players are set up, but you also come across the occasional new concept as regards the way you imagine and eventually play the game.

“From that point of view, I’m really looking forward to seeing and analysing what the tournament has to offer and maybe picking up some fresh ideas. This is why it’s always really special when you get a global perspective on something and get to play against the best teams in the world.”

© Getty Images

As UEFA representatives, Bayern are automatically one of the tournament favourites. A look back at the roll of honour shows that clubs from the Old Continent have already enjoyed a great deal of success. The last time a non-European side came out on top was all the way back in 2012, when Corinthians from Brazil defeated Chelsea in Japan. Since then, Bayern (2013), Real Madrid (2014, 2016, 2017, 2018) Barcelona (2015) and Liverpool (2019) have all taken home the title, and Bayern will be hoping to add to that list by winning the final, to be held on 11 February in Education City Stadium.

“We’re hoping and aiming to win the tournament, but as is always the case, we mustn’t get ahead of ourselves,” said Flick. “First off, we want to – and we have to – win our semi-final. We’re obviously hopeful of making it to the final – it’s our goal but it’s also our duty to get that far. We’ll be doing everything we can to prepare in the best way possible to realise our ambitions. But first and foremost we have to do our jobs, and then we can see whether we’ve earned ourselves a reward.”

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Ban vs WI, 1st ODI – Six West Indies players debut as Bangladesh opt to bowl in overcast conditions | Cricket


Shakib Al Hasan will be playing his first game since his ban ended © Raton Gomes/BCB

Bangladesh chose to field vs West Indies

Tamim Iqbal, standing as Bangladesh captain for the first time since his appointment nine months ago, chose to field against an inexperienced West Indies led by Jason Mohammed in the first ODI in Mirpur. Both teams are playing their first game of the World Cup Super League, the pathway tournament for the qualification for the 2023 ODI World Cup.

There were debutants for both teams. Pacer Hasan Mahmud, who made his T20I debut last year, became the 134th Bangladesh ODI cricketer. For West Indies, six players – Akeal Hosein, Andre McCarthy, Chemar Holder, Joshua Da Silva, Kyle Mayers and Nkrumah Bonner – made their ODI debuts. The ODI also sees Shakib Al Hasan’s return after his ban for not reporting a corrupt approach elapsed.

At the toss, Iqbal said that the overcast conditions prompted him to bowl first. Mohammed didn’t mind batting first, saying the surface “looks like a good wicket”. He also said that the young players in the XI were looking forward to playing international cricket. As for his captaincy, Mohammed said he was “trying to stay as calm as possible”.

Bangladesh 1 Tamim Iqbal (capt), 2 Liton Das, 3 Nazmul Hossain Shanto, 4 Shakib Al Hasan, 5 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Soumya Sarkar, 8 Mehidy Hasan Miraz, 9 Hasan Mahmud, 10 Mustafizur Rahman, 11 Rubel Hossain

West Indies XI 1 Sunil Ambris, 2 Joshua da Silva (wk), 3 Andre McCarthy, 4 Nkrumah Bonner, 5 Jason Mohammed (capt), 6 Rovman Powell, 7 Kyle Mayers, 8 Akeal Hosein, 9 Raymon Reifer, 10 Alzarri Joseph, 11 Chemar Holder

Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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FIFA Club World Cup 2020 – News – Draw lays out path to FIFA Club World Cup glory

  • Action to start on 4 February with Tigres against Ulsan
  • Al Duhail and Al Ahly will clash in the second match
  • The winners of the latter will play Bayern München in the semi-finals

Today’s Official Draw at the Home of FIFA in Zurich mapped out the road to global glory for the six clubs competing at the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020™.

Tigres UANL and Ulsan Hyundai FC will face each other in the first game scheduled for 4 February at 17:00 local time (15:00 CET) at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, while Al Duhail SC and Al Ahly SC will face off at 20:30 (18:30 CET) on the same day at Education City.

The Tigres-Ulsan winners will move on to play the Copa Libertadores champions – Palmeiras and Santos will contest the final on 30 January – in the semi-finals, while Al Duhail or Al Ahly will take on FC Bayern München.

The Qatar 2020 champions will be crowned following the final at Education City Stadium on 11 February, with kick-off at 21:00 (19:00 CET).

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