LITHUANIA – AZERBAIJAN
January 9th, 2017; Saint Petersburg, St. Petersburg Sports and Concert Complex, 500 spectators
Best players: Petkevičius, Mehdiyev
Tabriz Hasanov, Head coach of team Azerbaijan:
– What can I say? One team was performing today, but the other one won. Of course, it can happen, but it really, really hurts. Two set pieces – and the opponent scored two goals. Very, very painful. But we’ll work on our mistakes.
– How were you preparing for the Granatkin Memorial? Does the current squad consist of the strongest players?
– We started preparations a week before the New Year, so I can say that we had two weeks of preparation in total. We played a couple of matches, took a couple of trials. Unfortunately, two leading players did not make it to Saint Petersburg: the team captain, midfielder Asadov, is injured, and forward Mahmudov was not able to come.
– I must mention that the right midfielder Guler Metin distinguished himself on the pitch. This is the second time that he comes to Granatkin Memorial, right? He looks very agile. Can you tell us more about this player?
– You have said pretty much everything (audience laughing). I don’t want to speak a lot about an individual player or emphasize anyone’s skills. We are one team. We win together, we lose together. Unfortunately, today we lost – and it was me leading the team.
Vytautas Vaškūnas, Head coach of team Lithuania:
– We beat a very strong team today! I admit that the Team of Azerbaijan showed their best play, but we celebrated the win. We knew how strong this opponent is, so we prepared for the match very intensively.
– Your team showed outstanding play in defense today. Are you planning to use attacking style during the tournament?
– We planned to use it today, but we did not have an opportunity to do it throughout the match. However, it was more important for us to keep hold of our opponent’s attacks. And we fulfilled the task perfectly.
– How long did it take you to prepare for the Granatkin Memorial?
– Not that long. We practiced for four days before the New Year, then the boys got a two-day holiday, and on the 3rd of January we met to train for another four days. We played only one friendly match.