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Asian Qualifiers – Group F Preview: Kyrgyz Republic aim to bounce back as Myanmar loom

Osaka: Kyrgyz Republic will look for a positive response to their shock defeat to Mongolia when they take on Myanmar in Group F of the Asian Qualifiers at Yanmar Stadium Nagai on Friday. 

The 1-0 loss to Mongolia left Kyrgyz Republic with an uphill task to finish second in the standings, while fourth-placed Myanmar are looking to put in an improved performance from when they were comprehensively beaten 10-0 by hosts Japan on May 28.

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Myanmar v Kyrgyz Republic

With the race for second place in Group F well and truly on, Kyrgyz Republic will be desperate to pick up all three points against Myanmar when the sides face off on Friday, knowing that victory would see them leapfrog their Central Asian neighbours Tajikistan ahead of the final round of fixtures.

Despite dominating the game against Mongolia, Aleksandr Krestinin's side missed out on the chance to rise above the Tajiks as Oyunbaatar Mijiddorj's first-half goal proved enough for the East Asians to secure a famous win.

The loss put a major dent in Kyrgyz Republic's chances of finishing second and in the standings and, potentially, advancing directly to the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 and the final round of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifiers.

A win over second-from-last Myanmar would, however, see them move above Tajikistan ahead of the final round of fixtures on June 15, when they take on Group F winners Japan in what could prove to be a do-or-die clash.

When Kyrgyz Republic faced Myanmar earlier in the campaign, Edgar Bernhardt scored a hat-trick and Alimardon Shukurov bagged a brace as the Central Asians ran out comprehensive 7-0 winners in Bishkek.

While Myanmar still hold out slim hopes of finishing second, the Southeast Asians' main focus may well be on picking up at least a point from their remaining two games to ensure they finish fourth in the five-team group and increase their chances of automatically progressing to the third round of AFC Asian Cup China 2023 qualifying.

That begins against the Kyrgyz on Friday before they round off their campaign against Tajikistan – who they memorably defeated 4-3 back in November 2019 – four days later.

Myanmar will be without suspended striker Suan Lam Mang against Kyrgyz Republic, who are missing Tamirlan Kozubaev and Kairat Zhyrgalbek Uulu for the same reason.

Myanmar vs Kyrgyz Republic
Venue: Yanmar Stadium Nagai, Osaka
Kick-off: June 11, 16:00 (UTC+9)

*Poll ends on June 11, 23:00 hours (UTC+8)

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