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Asian Qualifiers - Group F: Mongolia edge Kyrgyz Republic to end campaign on a high


Osaka: A first half header from Mijiddorj Oyunbaatar saw Mongolia sign off their Group F campaign with a 1-0 win over Kyrgyz Republic on Monday in the second round of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and the AFC Asian Cup China 2023.

The result is a setback for Kyrgyz Republic who missed out on the chance to go level on points with regional rivals Tajikistan in second and saw Mongolia avenge their 2-1 defeat in the first meeting between the sides in October 2019.

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Due to a positive COVID-19 case among the squad that affected several playing and coaching staff, Kyrgyz Republic kicked off the tie with defender Aizar Akmatov pulling on the gloves in goal.

While Akmatov was untroubled for the opening quarter of an hour, on 17 minutes Baljinnyam Batbold should have tested the stand-in’s skills, but the Mongolia midfielder sliced his effort wide after pouncing on a loose clearance and driving into the area.

However just after the half hour mark, with their next significant chance on goal, Mongolia took the lead.

A fine in-swinging free-kick from the captain Tsend-Ayush Khurelbaatar found Oyunbaatar, and his header, ricocheting off Kyrgyz Republic defender Mustafa Iusupov, left Akmatov with no chance.

Gulzhigit Alykulov sought an immediate reply for the Central Asians, but after he worked space for a shot, lacked sufficient power to trouble Munkh-Erdene Enkhtaivan.

The second half began in much the same vein as the first as Kyrgyz Republic continued to control possession with Enkhtaivan needing to be alert to deny Alimardon Shukurov’s angled cross-cum-shot at his near post eight minutes after the restart.

Opportunities on goal remained at a premium but Kyrgyz Republic substitute Abai Bokoleev could have grabbed a share of the points with four minutes remaining only to be denied by a fine one-handed save from Enkhtaivan.

While Mongolia’s focus will now switch to the next stage of qualifying for AFC Asian Cup China 2023, Kyrgyz Republic will return to Yanmar Stadium Nagai to face Myanmar on Friday, before signing off their Group F campaign four days later against hosts Japan in Suita.

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