Group B: Kyrgyz Republic 2-4 Thailand
Tabriz: Thailand came back from a goal down after taking the lead to beat Kyrgyz Republic 4-2 in their opening AFC U-20 Futsal Championship IR Iran 2019 Group B tie on Friday.
Thailand entered the tie as favourites, having finished third two years ago, along with their impressive perfect record in the ASEAN Zone Qualifiers.
So it was no surprise that their movement around the final third was clinical, but Kyrgyz custodian Aman Sydybekov and his defenders were up to the challenge in the opening minutes.
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However, it was Kyrgyz Republic who had the first real chance of the game but Thai goalkeeper Arin Sumrithrin pulled off a double save to deny Mirlan Zholdubaev and Mamatziia Zholdoshov in the second minute.
The stalemate came to an end two minutes later through a kick-in set-piece with Thawatchai Rairat’s strike slicing between the Kyrgyz wall but even though it deflected off Sydybekov’s block, Rairat latched onto the rebound and drove the ball into the back of the net.
Kyrgyz Republic displayed class as they kept their composure against the Southeast Asian giants. Kairat Kubanychov came close on six minutes when Sumrithin made a wrong move within the box, but much to his relief, Kurbanychov’s effort bounced off the left post.
It was a similar situation a minute later, but this time, Zholdoshov made no mistake from close range to level the scoring.
Kyrgyz Republic moved with confidence and that determination led to their second goal of the evening, when an unmarked Damir Isakov unleashed a crackling strike that left Sumithrin standing still in the eighth minute.
Kyrgyz Republic were forced to play a little less aggressively with five fouls to their name, and that opened up some space for Thailand to push forward and equalise in the 17th minute through Sisaka Pramanong’ effort, courtesy of Chutinan Raksasap’s assist.
Moments later, Kyrgyz Republic’s foul tally went up to six, and Thanawat Koedbangrachan stepped up to take the spot-kick from the second penalty spot. Almaz Uulu Aman replaced his compatriot in front of the goalmouth and successfully denied Koedbangrachan, but Rairat, who was lurking, sent it back past the custodian to make it 3-2 to Thailand.
Nurjan Djetybaev’s Kyrgyz Republic continued with their aggressive pressing after the half-time break and looked promising with their runs but the upright was their enemy again, denying Azamat Dolotkeldiev in the 23rd minute.
In the 27th minute, a Thailand counter-attack left the Kyrgyz defence vulnerable and Krit Aransanyalak was perfect with his left-footed shot into the top left corner of the net to double their lead.
Kyrgyz Republic resorted to long-range passes to Zholdoshov, whose positioning was a constant threat to Thailand’s defence, but skipper Nattasak Photi made sure he was well marked.
Zholdubaev occasionally came in as the Kyrgyz Republic’s power player in the final few minutes, but even with their additional manpower, Thailand held on strong to secure all three points.
Kyrgyz Republic will look to bounce back against Lebanon on Matchday Two, while Thailand enjoy a rest day before playing the West Asians on Sunday.
Nurjan Djetybaev: Kyrgyz Republic head coach
“I want to say it was an interesting and good game for our boys. Secondly, my boys are really young and made many mistakes. We were ready for this game, and had a good first half. We knew how Thailand would play, and we prepared accordingly. But when they got tired after the first half, they began making mistakes. I have been a player in this tournament, and from my experience, the first match is always tough. So I hope that my boys can learn from this and improve for the next match.”
Jose Mendez: Thailand head coach
“It was how we expected, a difficult match. Both teams are much better than what we showed today. The first games are tough, especially since we only arrived yesterday. We need to change a lot of things. We had the same issue in the Qualifiers, where weren’t showing our best in the first game, but we played our best in the last. I expect that against Lebanon, we need to improve everything, in offence and defence. The only thing we can be happy about is the result, but still the most important thing is to get a win in the first game."