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Indian National Football Team: Know Your Rivals- Kyrgyzstan

Written by: Uttiyo Sarkar

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We take a look at this relatively unknown team who could be a difficult nut to crack for the Blue Tigers...

Kyrgyzstan may be a side every Indian side is mighty confident of defeating, but they shouldn't be taken lightly as this small country has a really sturdy football team which has been a bit of a menace for the Blue Tigers in the past. Even if India go into the match as favourites because of a higher FIFA Ranking, Kyrgyzstan has a solid squad and their coach Aleksandr Krestinin has built them into a really stubborn side in the past few years.

Kyrgyzstan has defeated the Blue Tigers in their most recent clash which dates back to 2010, but one can say that times have changed since then for both sides. But with Kyrgyzstan looking strong in the past year or so, they'll be a hard nut to crack for Stephen Constantine's men and should not be underestimated by the fans. So Let's have a look at what all you should know about Kyrgyzstan.

Facts To Remember:

Country: Kyrgyzstan

FIFA Ranking: 132

Nickname: The White Falcons

Last Official Match Played: Kyrgyzstan 1-0 Macau (28th March 2017)

Coach: Aleksandr Krestinin

Team Highlights:

Kyrgyzstan may be a small country which is remembered for being mountainous and landlocked and their football team is just as hard and unbreakable as the country itself. After being separated from the Soviet Union, Kyrgyzstan became an independent country and announced its own football team in 1992. They are celebrating 25 years in football this year and will look to continue their impressive run this year.

The White Falcons defeated Macao in their most recent match in the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers back in March, but haven't played a match since then, unlike India who played a friendly against Nepal a week back. They have shown impressive resolve ever since Russian coach Aleksandr Krestenin took over, with their defensive form truly shining through and through.

Krestinin knows how to get the best out of his team

The clash against India is an extremely important for their hopes of qualifying for the Asian Cup next year,  as a shocking win could catapult them to the top of the group and assert them as favourites to qualify for the AFC Asian Cup. Krestenin's men might not play the most "entertaining" football, but they get the job done and will look to ride on the momentum of their win against Macau to stun the Blue Tigers.

Lessons From The Past:

India has a sweet head to head record against the White Falcons, as the Blue Tigers have won 2 out of the 3 matches these teams have played in the history. The Blue Tigers first faced Kyrgyzstan in the 2007 Nehru Cup, defeating them 3-0 to progress to the finals and going on to win the tournament. The two faced again in the 2009 Nehru Cup, where goals from Bhaichung Bhutia and Sunil Chettri gave The Tigers another victory over the White Falcons.

But Kyrgyzstan has the upper hand in India in the most recent result, which went in the way of the White Falcons when they defeated India 2-1 in the AFC Challenge Cup in 2010. While India will look to avenge that loss, Kyrgyzstan's impressive recent form could indicate that getting a win could be a difficult task for Constantine's men.

Predicted Line-up:

Matiash, Baimatov, Kichin, Bernhardt, Sidorenko, Shamshiev, Tagoe, Israilov, Maier, Murzaev, Lux.


Players To Watch Out For:

Pavel Matiash:

Pavel Matiash has been quite the excellent goalkeeper for The White Falcons for the past few years and has saved them from doom quite a lot of times. Matiash's excellent work has earned him an impressive 24 caps for the country, as he has remained as the country's No #1 goalkeeper for over 8 years now.

Matiash might be remembered by Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC fans for being a tough nut to crack as he's the goalkeeper of Maziya S&RC, who were in the same group in the AFC Cup as The Indian Giants. His excellent shot-stopping skills and commendable height of 6 ft 5 give him the advantage over the attackers and it's almost impossible to put one over him. Matiash will need to be at his best for Kyrgyzstan to hold their own against the dangerous attacking Blue Tigers and a clean sheet could definitely help The Falcons' chances of gaining valuable points of this difficult fixture.

Mirlan Murzaev:

Mirlan Murzaev has often been the "X-Factor" for Kyrgyzstan over the years, as his deadly finishing ability and hunger for goals has made him the man to look out for any team. Murzaev is widely known as the White Falcons' "best player" for years now as his impressive eye for goal and ability to deliver when it matters for Kyrgyzstan is why the Falcons have trusted him to lead their line for the past 8 years now.

Murzaev has scored against the Tigers before, way back in 2009 when they were defeated in the Nehru Cup by India. He might be undergoing some bad form in the past few years, but Murzaev's unpredictability and eye for goal make him a legitimate threat against any team.  The towering striker will be looking to prove a point against the Blue Tigers, who need to be wary of his threat and could be in for trouble if they don't focus on containing him.

Full Squad:

Goalkeepers:

Pavel Matiash, Valery Kashuba, Akimaliev Kalysbek

Defenders:

Azamat Baimatov, Valerii Kichin, Daniel Tagoe, Iliaz Alimov, Danila Sokirchenko, Amanbek Manybekov.

Midfielders:

Edgar Bernhardt(C), Akhlidin Israilov, Pavel Sidorenko, Islam Shamshiev, Viktor Maier, Anton Zemlianukhin, Jyrgalbek Uluu Kairat, Farkhat Musabekov, Avazbek Otkeev, Murolimzhon Akhmedov.

Forwards:

Vitaliy Lyuks, Vladimir Kazakbaev, Bakhtiyar Duyshobekov, Mirlan Murzaev.

 

Published: Sat Jun 10, 2017 09:08 PM IST

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