Uzbekistan coach Bakhtiyor Ashurmatov’s faith upon his players paid off yesterday. During the interval of their AFC Under-23 Championship Qualifier against India yesterday, he had asked his players to concentrate till the last minute and his charges did just that, scoring two late goals to win their Group E opener at Bangabandhu National Stadium.
The coach expressed satisfaction with the proceedings as the Uzbeks claimed a 2-0 victory over the Indians. “During the interval, I told my players to fight till the last minute and keep their concentration. I thank my players as they did just that and thanks to the Bangladesh people who supported us,” Ashurmatov told the media after the game.
“We came here seven days ago. Good reason for that because it is very hot. If you saw my players today, they were not only attacking all the time. They were also defending and playing passes. Playing 90 minutes in one tempo is not possible. That is what I told my players today,” he said.
His counterpart Savio Medeira was left to rue the missed opportunities. “We all knew that Uzbekistan are a better team with better players. But, we ran our socks off and it’s natural as the game progresses to lose a little concentration. But, what I’ll be saying to my boys is they have to believe in themselves. They worked hard, they missed chances and they gave their best. So, I’m really proud of them. We will learn through mistakes and get better. We just could not take our chances,” said Savio.