Krestinin: Don’t write Kyrgyz Republic off against Japan
Bishkek: Alexander Krestinin is full of respect for a Japanese side long established as one of Asia’s footballing powers, but the Kyrgyz Republic head coach declared his belief that no team is perfect ahead of Thursday’s FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Asian Qualifiers meeting.
Kyrgyz Republic will be aiming for a historic result when they challenge one of Asia’s perennial heavyweights at Dolen Omurzakov Stadium.
Japan are four-time Asian champions with players dotted throughout the major leagues of Europe, while visits from such illustrious opponents to Kyrgyz Republic have been few and far between since the national team played its first international fixture in 1992.
Kuala Lumpur: Matchday Five of the Asian Qualifiers will see several frontrunners going head-to-head in their bid to edge closer to qualifying for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023.
With the second round of the Qualifiers reaching the halfway stage, it promises to be an exciting day of matches on Thursday and the-AFC.com picks six matches to look out for.
Kuala Lumpur: With four Matchdays and several memorable games completed, there will be little room for error when Asia’s national teams convene for Matchdays Five and Six of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 in the coming week.
With high stakes fixtures on the agenda all over the Continent, the-AFC.com scrutinises some of the key facts and figures ahead of the 32-match extravaganza to come.
Kuala Lumpur: With the next two rounds of Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 on the horizon, the upcoming matchdays will go a long way in determining the fate of the teams.
With only the eight group winners and four best runners-up advancing to the final round of Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, there will be no room for slip-ups.
The same applies for the final stage of the Asian Qualifiers for the AFC Asian Cup China 2023, with the 12 next best-placed teams advancing to the third round. Join the-AFC.com as we take a look at how the eight groups stand.
Tashkent: Uzbekistan continued their resurgence under head coach Vadim Abramov, registering a 3-1 friendly win over Kyrgyz Republic at Pakhtakor Stadium on Saturday.
Uzbekistan 3-1 Kyrgyz Republic
Both sides used the match to prepare for key Asian Qualifiers in the week ahead, with Uzbekistan to host Saudi Arabia on Thursday, while Kyrgyz Republic are set to face Japan in Bishkek.
Pakhtakor duo Igor Sergeev and Dostonbek Khamdanov made the most of their familiar surrounds to find the back of the net before Jamshid Iskanderov slotted an excellent third for Uzbekistan, with Farkhat Musabkeov getting his name on the scoresheet for the visitors, who remain winless in eight attempts against their neighbours.
Bernhardt sees bright future for Kyrgyz Republic youngsters
Bishkek: Edgar Bernhardt may have netted a hat-trick in Kyrgyz Republic’s record 7-0 win over Myanmar, but the veteran midfielder was equally pleased by the contribution of his side’s impressive youngsters.
Alimardon Shukurov, 20, and Gulzhigit Alykulov, 18, had tongues wagging after their outstanding performances on Thursday, with both players netting their first senior international goals as the Central Asian side revived their Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 campaign after last month’s 1-0 defeat against Tajikistan.
Bernhardt, 33, has seen plenty of players come and go in his 15-year professional career, but he believes the Akshumkar could have something special on their hands with the dynamic duo.