AZERBAIJAN – SLOVAKIA
January 13th, 2017; Saint Petersburg, St. Petersburg Sports and Concert Complex, 300 зрителей
Best players: Ekincier, Valach
Post match comments
Tabriz Hasanov, Head coach of team Azerbaijan:
– I would like to give comments on our overall performance in the group stage. Maybe it was a black cat that crossed our path? Taking into account our play, we should have had 9 points instead of 1. We created a lot of dangerous moments in every match, but we didn’t succeed in scoring – that’s why we were losing or tying instead of winning. In my opinion, our team was the best in our group, but luck was not on our side. I understand that bad luck can’t excuse us, but it is very strange that our ball didn’t find the net, kicking a goal post or a crossbar.
– You probably watched the match between Lithuania and Kazakhstan right before your game, and after that it became obvious that you lost any chances to pass to the quarter-final. However, your players looked very motivated from the first minutes of the match – could it be true that this news did not affect them?
– To tell you the truth, it was very hard to prepare even for a coach like me. I feared that my boys would give up and would not have any mood to play. It is very difficult to play when the result means literally nothing, so I thank my squad for battling in a very tough situation, they showed their best.
– Does the overall performance make the group stage result taste less bitter?
– I am satisfied with my boys. Of course, they are very young and don’t have enough experience, so they make mistakes. A promising future waits for them – they have skills, yet no result. I guess they will be good enough to represent the National Team of Azerbaijan.
– Which tasks will you set for your players for the upcoming matches?
– I can admit we were tuned up for the final and wanted to play for the gold. I believed in my team. But things did not come round as we were expecting. For example, two shots against our goals ended with two goals, and one of the referees did not notice our goal in the end of the match. We don’t know our future rival yet, but no matter what the game is – whether we are playing for gold or for nothing – we’ll always be playing in the attacking style.
Milan Malatinsky, Head coach of team Slovakia:
– We are very pleased with this victory, as I consider team Azerbaijan to be one of the best teams in this tournament. We were surviving in a way in the first half, as our rival was overplaying us. We changed positions of some players after the half-time, which made our team play more active. Also a sent off player in team Azerbaijan helped us a bit. I am glad that the boys played well after the missed penalty.
– After the first two matches your team did not score, and you said that if the tendency continued, you would appear on the pitch to help your players. Did your threatening work?
– Yes, I admit that I said this, but I had problems going out to the field. My calcaneal tendon is injured (smiling).
– You came up to your colleague from Azerbaijan and said something, pointing to the grass. What were you saying?
Tabriz Hasanov, interrupting with a smile: That’s a secret!
– I said that I consider team Azerbaijan to be the best team in this competition.
– You will play against team Saint Petersburg in the quarter-final. What do you think about their performance?
– (in Russian) I see them as a very strong team, so the match will be a good one.