Tajikistan coach admits struggles under hot conditions

Akhyar Rashid, Malaysia v Tajikistan, International Friendly, 9 Nov 2019
Sports Regime
Refusing to lay the blame on the dismissal of his goalkeeper, Usmon Toshev sees the weather as a more important fact in the defeat to Malaysia.

Ranked 116 in the FIFA rankings compared to Malaysia's lowly position of 158, Tajikistan arrived in Kuala Lumpur with big reputation ahead of the international friendly between the two teams but after 90 minutes at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium, Toshev's side did not look like they were significantly better than Tan Cheng Hoe's side.

In fact the opposite was true with Malaysia not only standing tall to their supposedly better opponents but also at times showing real dominance in the match. All that even before goalkeeper Rustam Yatimov was sent off for handling the ball outside his penalty box right at the start of the second half. That said, it wasn't a performance to give Toshev too much worry.

"I think the players did very well but unfortunately the red card was standing in the way of seeing how we could do. But it was a big game, big training for the following match. The red card didn't change the whole plan but it did change the game. But that's okay, it's nothing scary and happens sometimes in the game.

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Syafiq Ahmad, Malaysia v Tajikistan, International Friendly, 9 Nov 2019

"It was a good preparation. Unfortunately we couldn't field the whole team and that changed a little bit the plans. And we realised it was not easy to play in this weather condition but we will train and we will adjust," said Toshev in the post-match press conference.

Despite the unwanted defeat, there were also a lot of positives for Tajikistan and Toshev, especially from an attacking sense. Isolated and rarely in possession of the ball, Dzhailov Alisher and Ehsoni Panshanbe still showed plenty of guile and pace going forward and Malaysia were only let off the hook by their poor finishings.

Tajikistan are currently third in Group F behind Japan and Kyrgyzstan, although they are level on points with the latter. It's two successive away trips for Toshev and his team in the upcoming pair of qualifier fixtures with Myanmar on November14 being the first before a meeting with Kyrgyzstan on November 19.


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