Thu, 28 Oct, 2021
Dushanbe: Head coach Khakim Fuzaylov insists Tajikistan “have no right” to make any more mistakes in their bid to qualify for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup ahead of Tuesday’s Group F meeting with the Philippines, with an anticipated crowd of at least 15,000 fans expected to turn out at Republican Central Stadium.
Tajikistan, who are chasing what would be an historic first-ever AFC Asian Cup appearance, lost March’s opener 2-1 against Yemen despite taking the lead through Parvizjon Umarboev’s early opener in Qatar.
But with the Philippines having beaten Nepal 4-1 at home earlier this year, Fuzaylov’s charges will look to make full use of home advantage to remain firmly in the picture in Group F.
“This match is a six pointer. We will play at home and have no right to make a mistake in front of our own fans,” said Fuzaylov.
“Unfortunately, we began our campaign with a defeat in the away game. We controlled that match, but could not gain a positive result, but we took important lessons from that match.
“A minimum of 15,000 fans will support us at the stadium. We mustn’t make a mistake at home.”
Unlike the Philippines, who lost 8-1 to China on Wednesday, Tajikistan opted against organising a friendly ahead of the qualifier.
“We have had 10 days training before the game with the Philippines,” added Fuzaylov. “We didn’t play any friendly game in this period. Our opponent played a friendly match, but we organised a game inside of our team.
“The Philippines played defensive football against China in the last friendly game. We will try not to give any chance to the dangerous strikers of our opponent.”
Captain Phil Younghusband scored twice for Thomas Dooley’s Philippines against Nepal in March in Manilla and the Meralco Manila striker will again be the main threat for Tajikistan to deal with, along with China-based fellow forward Javier Patino.
Younghusband was on target against Tajikistan at the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup in Nepal as the Azkals recorded a 2-1 win in the group stage clash in Kathmandu.
“The Philippines is a good and strong opponent,” said Fuzaylov. “We have learned a lot about this team from their last match. We have studied the strong and weak sides of the Philippines.”
Tajikistan will look to ride on the positive wave created in football in the country following Istikol’s progression to the Inter-zone Semi-finals of this year’s AFC Cup, where they will face the Zonal Champion from the ASEAN region, which could be Ceres Negros from the Philippines.
But Fuzaylov has confirmed Tajikistan will be without Istikol midfielder Nuriddin Davronov for the meeting with the Philippines.
“It’s a pity that the captain and leader of the national team, Nuriddin Davronov from Istikol in Dushanbe was injured in the last match in the Tajikistan championship,” said Fuzaylov. “He can’t help our team in the upcoming game.
“Istikol is the main club in the Tajikistan national team. They have achieved a positive result in the AFC Cup group stage and I hope that this will help us and we can give happiness to our fans on June 13.”
The Philippines, who made the trip to Dushanbe from Guangzhou via Urumqi on Friday, will be without left back Jeffrey Christiaens and midfielder Hikaru Minegishi due to injuries sustained in last week’s heavy friendly defeat.