Indian National Football Team: Know Your Rivals - Kyrgyz Republic

Goal tells you everything you need to know about the Blue Tigers' opponents in their last Group A 2019 AFC Asian Cup third round qualifiers...
Quick Facts

Kyrgyz Republic football team

Country: Kyrgyz Republic

FIFA Ranking: 115

Nickname: The White Falcons

Last official match played:  Kyrgyz Republic 5-1 Myanmar (22 March 2018)

Coach:  Aleksandr Krestinin

Team Highlights

Kyrgyz Republic Myanmar

A nation born out of the fall of the mighty erstwhile Soviet Union, Kyrgyzstan is one of the sparsely populated craggy terrains in northern Central Asia. It has only been twenty-six years since the existence of their national football team and it comes as no surprise that they did not qualify for any of the continental showpiece tournament finals before this.

However, the Kyrgyz were sporadic participants in the now defunct AFC Challenge Cup, appearing in alternate years since 2006. Their best result was a bronze-medal finish in the inaugural edition in Bangladesh; post that, they just made up the numbers in 2010 and 2014.

Kyrgyz Republic broke into FIFA ranking's top 100 for the very first time in October 2016, less than four years after being pushed into near oblivion as they were ranked 201st in early 2013. Currently, they positioned sixteen places behind India, who are 99th in the standings.

Pushed into Group B of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup/ 2018 FIFA World Cup joint-qualification, the  Falcons finished third behind Jordan and heavyweights Australia. The Central Asian nation were the second team to qualify from the subsequent third qualifying round after the  Blue Tigers. They have won three out of five games, drawing once against Myanmar and losing to India in June 2017.

Lessons from the past

Sunil Chhetri India Kyrgyzstan Asian Cup Qualifier 2017

INDIA vs KYRGYZSTAN 4 3 0 1 7 3 +4

Kyrgyzstan remains one of the few nations that the Indians have a better head-to-head record with, albeit in four games. The Central Asian nation were invited to successive Nehru Cup tournaments in 2007 and 2009, where India got the better of them on both occasions.

In the 2010 AFC Challenge Cup in Sri Lanka, the Falcons replied back 2-1 with one of the goals for the Kyrgyz scored by Ildar Amirov, who played a couple of games for Indian club East Bengal last season.

It was India who lodged maximum points in their home leg of this tie. On 13 June 2017, Sunil Chhetri's solitary goal in the 69th minute ensured a 1-0 win at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru.

Predicted Line-up

Kyrgyz Republic XI

In their 5-1 win over Myanmar at Incheon, South Korea last week, Krestinin continued with Valery Kaszuba over Pavel Matiash but he will look to give the former Maziya S&RC goalkeeper some game time.

Within a year, the defence has seen a complete revamp bar their inspirational leader Azamat Baymatov. Right-back Viktor Maier is suffering from a long-term injury while left-back Valery Kichin is not selected. Daniel Tagoe has now been deemed as a passenger in the squad.

German-born Edgar Bernhardt played a more deep and central role last time but his preferred position is the right wing. Farhat Musabekov came on for the last 30 minutes and might be given more time to impress while goalscorers Islam Shamshiev and Anton Zemlyanukhin should continue in the lineup.

Krestinin will be spoilt for choice given both Vitaly Lux and Bekzhan Sagynbaev have turned into scoring substitutes. However, talisman Mirlan Murzaev will hardly want a rest given the top spot in the group is up for grabs despite securing passage into the Asian Cup finals.

Churchill Brothers' Bektur Talgat and former NEROCA FC man Akhlidin Israilov won't have a chance to face familiar opponents as the pair have been overlooked completely.

Players To Watch Out For 

Mirlan Murzaev: The perfect centre-forward, Murzaev is expected to be a handful for the Indian defenders. A threat both on and off the ball, the 27-year-old is also effective in the air. His six goals from 32 appearances do not reflect his importance to the Kyrgyz side but consider him to be the danger man, lurking around in spaces to poach and deliver the final punch to the opposition.

Mirlan Murzaev Kyrgystan

Azamat Baymatov: The leader in defence, Baymatov is a centre-back currently plying his trade at FC Borneo in Brunei Darussalam. Baymatov's task will be to stop the Indian strikers and nip attacking moves in the bud. His physical presence and towering height are sure to intimidate the  Blue Tigers.

Full Squad

GOALKEEPERS: Pavel Matiash (FC Almalyk), Valery Kaszuba (FC Dordoi), Kalis Akimaliev (FC Abdysh-Ata);

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DEFENDERS: Azamat Baymatov [C] (FC Borneo), Kursanbek Sheratov, Tamirlan Kozubaev, Bakhtiar Duyshobekov, Askarbek Saliev, Avazbek Otkeyev, Daniel Tagoe (all FC Dordoi), Amanbek Manybekov (FC Abdysh-Ata);

MIDFIELDERS:  Pavel Sidorenko, Aziz Sydykov, Islam Shamshiev, Murolimzhon Akhmedov, Kayrat Jygalbek (all FC Dordoi), Farhat Musabekov (Olmaliq FK), Anton Zemlyanukhin (FC Atyrau), Edgar Bernhardt (GKS Tychy);

FORWARDS:  Mirlan Murzaev (Serik Belediespor FC), Vitaly Lux (Unterhaching FC), Bekzhan Sagynbaev, Kadyrbek Shaarbekov (both FC Dordoi).

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