TAJIKISTAN – BELARUS
January 14th, 2017; Saint Petersburg, St. Petersburg Sports and Concert Complex, 300 spectators
Penalty shoot-out: Fuzaylov (1:0), Khlebasolau (1:0 – missed), Safarov M. (2:0), Juhir (2:1), Sharipov (2:1 – goalkeeper), Shauchenka (2:2), Boboev (3:2), Malkevich (3:3), Ehsoni (4:3), Volkau (4:4), Azimov (5:4), Starastsin (5:5), Hanonov (6:5), Sadouski (6:6), Safarov O. (6:6 – goalkeeper), Biatsenia (6:7)
Best players: Hanonov, Pilipavets
Post match comments
Vitalii Levchenko, Head coach of team Tajikistan:
– This was the game with equal chances on a win. Both teams could have scored. As you know, we are always trying to lead the play and to press our opponent if we lose the ball. Something went right, and something went wrong. In the end the scoreboard showed 0:0, and it was Belarus who got lucky in the shoot-out. I congratulate them on a win.
– Have you been preparing penalty shots? Were you substituting the goalkeeper on the 88th minute on purpose? And do you have a number one goalkeeper in your team?
– I am always consulting the coaching staff, and the goalkeepers coach decided that Azizov was preferable. He was very close to make a save in several moments. And, of course, the others should have scored. It’s our fourth game and we made a rotation, letting new guys play. We make our own game plan – some players follow it and some don’t.
– You told us on the first press-conference that you have the main team and the reserves. Has anyone from the reserves showed himself well on this tournament?
– It is hard to change my opinion with regard to the line-up. If I chose someone then they will be playing. It’s difficult to compete for the guys who were not playing on the tournament, since they lack “feeling of real play” compared to those who had three matches. Everyone has to prove their right to be in the starting eleven.
– Your team was trying to lead most of the previous matches and to attack. What did you lack to be more successful on this tournament?
– First of all, we lacked individual skills completing our attacks. We had a lot of good chances. The players could not score because of incorrect decisions, poor shots, too long ball control. We need to work on this more, but it takes time to solve those problems. The tournament shows us who we can count on further – this is valuable experience. We are not upset, because this team gathered just recently. These are youngsters who want to prove that they are capable of achieving success in football, but nothing will go right if they do not fulfill our requirements. It’s hard for the guys to play without the ball possession due to their temper. My key task is to teach them how to regroup from attack to defense. We still have time till October, when the Asian Cup Qualifiers start, and we’ll be working hard.
Raman Kirenkin, Head coach of team Belarus:
– I admit, it was difficult to set the right mood before this match, but the guys were great, although they got a win on the penalty shoot-out only. We had to win, because my son was born today. So I thank the team for this present! I am happy we did not concede, but I’ve got a number of questions left to our attacking activities and the way we convert our chances. We won, and this is good! The guys need to feel more confident as they were playing a bit tense today. As a coach I don’t understand why the players do not follow our game plan. They might be afraid to make a mistake. I thank the team for a win, and we keep on moving forward!
– It’s the first time we see Belarus playing in black kit. There is no such color in your flag, so why did you choose it?
– We started to play in this kit only this year. It was chosen from several options on a vote. Our people accepted the kit design that was created using the folk motives of the “White wings”, and there was a black version.
– You walked away in the beginning of the shoot-out…
– I couldn’t watch it, as I spent a lot of nerves on the bench. You get very emotional. But when I found that we did not score from our first shot, I got myself together and came back. This might have helped.
– It’s not usual to see Belarus playing for places 9-16 here in St. Petersburg. What are the reasons for this?
– It seems to me that we have been unable to take medal places for about nine years already. We gathered the guys before the tournament and conducted a medical examination that showed that 85% were not ready to play. The percentage of fat in the body was 8-11% in summer, and it deteriorated to 19-22% in winter. That’s why it’s harder to play against fast and physically ready opponents, and this is one of the main reasons we failed here.
– Speaking about your play on this tournament, can you say what went right and what went wrong?
– There were more negative moments than positive. We will make an analysis of the matches we played. At the moment, we’re dedicating no more than 40% of the time on our own mistakes and the rest is spent on the opponent and the game plan. We lack time to embrace both these aspects at once. A defeat is always a lesson for the future. Arriving here we need to be ready to fulfill the requirements. The result comes when we are able to do this.