Group D: Kyrgyz Republic 2-2 Lebanon
Taipei: Kyrgyz Republic and Lebanon had to be satisfied with a share of the points after they played to a 2-2 draw in their AFC Futsal Championship Group D tie at the Xinzhuang Stadium on Friday.
Kyrgyz Republic took the lead in the first half through Maksat Alimov’s effort, but Lebanon bounced back with Ahmad Kheir El Dine scoring two goals, only for Adilet Imanbekov to equalise in the 35th minute
Kyrgyz Republic nearly had a dream start though as less than a minute in, Adilet Kultaev’s shot rocked off the crossbar.
As the match progressed, neither side had total control or majority of possession, with both sharing almost equal opportunities on target but Kyrgyz Republic had to reduce their aggression after mounting five fouls 15 minutes into the game.
But that didn’t keep them in their half and in the 16th minute, Alimov latched onto a deflected ball to find the bottom right of the net for Kyrgyz Republic to take the lead.
Two minutes later, Lebanon had a chance to draw level when Kyrgyz Republic accumulated a sixth foul but Hassan Zeitoun’s shot from the second penalty mark missed to the left.
Lebanon returned in the second half more composed and quick passes between Karim Abou Zeid and El Dine saw them break through the Kyrgyz backline with ease and El Dine made no mistake with a close range effort to level the scores in the 22nd minute.
In the 28th minute, El Dine scored his second goal when he was left unmarked to hit home from the middle, but Kyrgyz Republic equalised seven minutes later with Imanbekov’s strike.
Kyrgyz Republic will meet Jordan in their next match, while Lebanon face Thailand on Sunday.
Amirzhan Mukanov: Kyrgyz Republic Head Coach
“In the beginning it was a good game, but we made a few mistakes and were punished for it. We deserved to receive the draw. Lebanon were very organised, with talented and experienced players, and in the second half they played their own game and scored the two goals. We played against Jordan in September (2017 Asian Indoor Games), where we loss, and I think they are definitely the favourites in our group. It’s going to be tough but we will try our best.
Shahab Sofalmanesh: Lebanon Head Coach
“As we expected, Kyrgyz Republic were a very tough team, with both teams playing aggressively, but both of us also showed really good qualities. We created chances, but it was hard to find finishes. We were really good at creating chances, and had a few ups and downs along the way but now it’s time to sit with the players to solve our problems, because Thailand are an experienced team, and if we were to make these mistakes, we would be heavily punished.”