Krestinin lauds Kyrgyz history-makers
Dubai: Kyrgyz Republic head coach Alexander Krestinin commended his players after they delivered a historic 3-1 win to seal a place in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 knockout stage at Rashid Stadium on Wednesday.
The win was Kyrgyz Republic's first ever at the Continental Finals, with striker Vitalij Lux bagging all three goals on a day that will live long in the memory in the Central Asian nation.
Speaking before Vietnam's subsequent 2-0 win over Yemen which confirmed his side's place in the Round of 16, Krestinin acknowledged his team's efforts.
See also :
"I'd like to thank the team for a good game, and I'd also like to congratulate the whole country for this victory we fought for," he said.
"Before the tournament started, I said we prepared very well for the tournament. We scored our first goal in history in the Asian Cup in the match against China and today we have the first victory."
The Russian tactician also praised the performance of Lux, whose goals in the 24th, 55th and 77th minutes not only gave the Akshumkar what proved to be an insurmountable 3-0 lead, but made him the first player from the Kyrgyz Republic to bag a hat-trick on the major tournament stage.
"We should all congratulate Vitalij for his hat-trick, and before (he scored his goals) he also had good moments, but none of them were realised with a goal," he said.
"Today he scored very important goals, but on the other hand this is his job, and today he did his job very well."
While Krestinin's success with Kyrgyz Republic is arguably the crowning achievement of his managerial career, it could yet reach even greater heights in the knockout stage of the competition.
The composed 40-year-old said he wasn't looking too far ahead, but vowed, come what way, that his side can be counted on to give 100 percent.
"Without character we wouldn't have won the game today and we would have lost our chance to reach the next round," he declared.
"We are taking every game very seriously, and I think our previous games have shown that we're going to fight in any match we play here in this tournament."
Meanwhile, beaten Philippines head coach Sven Göran-Eriksson was left to lament his side's exit from the competition.
The Azkals campaign began with a fighting 1-0 defeat to Korea Republic, but a 3-0 loss to China PR put them on the ropes before Lux and Kyrgyz Republic issued the knockout blow.
"We met a team which are physically stronger than we are unfortunately," said the former England boss.
"They won a lot of 50-50 balls and in the first half we couldn't really stand up to them, and it doesn't really matter which system you use if you can't win the ball.
"(In the) second half I think we did better, but if we concede goals as we did, life is difficult."
Eriksson confirmed his contract as Philippines head coach is soon to expire, but refused to elaborate further on his future, preferring to focus on the lessons learned for the nation on their AFC Asian Cup debut.
"For the whole federation, the people behind the team, and the players, it's an extremely good experience to see what it's all about, to be in a big tournament, to meet teams like Korea (Republic), China and Kyrgyz Republic, and if you're not up to it 100 percent you don't win games like this," he said.
"It's very good especially for the young players, and that's a positive, but of course zero points is not good.
"We maybe could and should have done a little bit better, but, for sure, it's good for the future for the country."
Recommended Stories :