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Asian Qualifiers - Group F: Kyrgyz Republic cruise past Myanmar to get back on track

Osaka: A hat-trick from Mirlan Murzaev helped Kyrgyz Republic move into second place in Group F of the Asian Qualifiers after a comprehensive 8-1 victory over 10-men Myanmar at Yanmar Stadium Nagai on Friday.

The victory sees Kyrgyz Republic leapfrog their Central Asian neighbours Tajikistan on goal difference, while Myanmar drop to bottom in the standings behind Mongolia, ahead of the vital final round of fixtures to come on Tuesday.

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Despite kicking off the tie with an outfield player in goal for a second successive match - this time Ernist Batyrkanov - due to a COVID-19 positive case within the squad, it was the Central Asians who opened the scoring on 22 minutes.

Murzaev sent in a wonderful cross with the outside of his right boot and Tursunali Rustamov met the ball with a diving header past Sann Sat Naing.

And Myanmar were hit with a second blow just two minutes later as Yan Naing Oo was sent off for a dangerously high challenge on Alimardon Shukurov to reduce the Southeast Asian side to 10 men.

Gulzhigit Alykulov then doubled Kyrgyz Republic’s lead just before the half-hour mark with a splendid solo goal, dancing past Zaw Ye Tun and Soe Moe Kyaw before beating Sann Sat Naing at his near post.

On 34 minutes, Farkhat Musabekov made it 3-0 with a powerful shot after working his way into the penalty area, before he was involved in a passing move with Alykulov and Shukurov that sent the latter through to finish for Kyrgyz Republic’s fourth.

There was still time for captain Murzaev (pictured below) to score the pick of the bunch in first half stoppage time as he pulled off a spectacular scissor kick at the back post to convert Alykulov’s cross.

The skipper netted another superb strike just after the hour mark with a 25-yarder that screamed past Sann Sat Naing to make it 6-0 to Alexander Krestinin’s team.

The seventh followed soon after too as substitute Odilzhon Abdurakhmanov laid the ball on a plate for an unmarked Abai Bokoleev to slot home on 63 minutes.

Hlaing Bo Bo (pictured below, centre) did net a consolation goal for Myanmar in the 69th minute when he smartly side-footed past a stationary Batyrkanov after being picked out by a low driven cross from Nyein Chan Aung.

Myanmar's joy was short-lived as Murzaev completed his treble and rounded off the scoring from close range on 78 minutes with Abdurakhmanov picking up another assist.

Kyrgyz Republic will take on hosts Japan in Suita for their final Group F tie on Tuesday, while Myanmar will return to Yanmar Stadium Nagai to face Tajikistan.

Photos: Japan Football Association

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