Published: Tuesday, 17 January 2017 10:13

TAJIKISTAN – LITHUANIA

   

Match for the positions: 13-16

January 17th, 2017; Saint Petersburg, St. Petersburg Sports and Concert Complex, 300 spectators

Penalty shoot-out: Saidov (1:0), Kažukolovas (1:1), Safarov (1:1 – goalkeeper), Putrius (1:2), Hanonov (2:2), Paulikas (2:3), Maliev (3:3), Borodinas (3:4), Ehsoni (4:4), Utkus (4:5)

Best players: Saidov, Paulikas

 

Post match comments

Vitalii Levchenko, Head coach of team Tajikistan:

– I won’t tell you much: you need to score if you want to win. The best case scenario was to get a tie. A penalty shoot-out is our weak side. What goals are we talking about, if we cannot simply put a ball into the net from the 11-meter mark? It is harder to scoring from the open play than taking penalties.

– You’re using a 4-4-2 formation. Can it be said that you start from the basics?

– We are at the very beginning of our way. Of course we will change our formation before the official games. I must mention that we used a 5-3-2 formation during the Asian Cup. We’ll be practicing the same scheme as soon as my players adapt to it.

– So team Tajikistan will play counting on defense?

– Not really. We are going to use three midfielders and active wings.

– Were you unsatisfied with substitutions you made?

– These are emotions. I want my players to be stronger in each episode, as I prepare them for high level of rivalry. If a player is in the starting line-up, this means that I believe in him. If he is not – he should prove he deserves it. As for my emotions, I can apologize before my players.

– Does your rank in the tournament correspond to the overall level of the team?

– We have just discussed this with our coaching staff. Of course, it does not. Look at how we performed during the tournament: we were defeated by Bulgaria only. But moreover, we could have achieved more, if we scored during that match. We are in a very unpleasant situation, and we must overcome it soon. We should get out of this in a proper way.

 

Vytautas Vaškūnas, Head coach of team Lithuania:

– Tajikistan is a very strong team. They gained 4 points at the group stage, and in the following matches they lost in penalty shoot-out only. I sympathize their coach. As of us, we have the whole package: we had a victory, a draw, a loss, a loss in a penalty shoot-out, a victory in a penalty shoot-out. I must say that there is no weak team on the Granatkin Memorial. Each team gains points, but I remember years when some teams did not score at all. There is no team like this now. This is great!

– So you were not shaky about the result today, right?

– No (smiling). I previously said that we will have the whole package of results. And I kept my word. That’s why I was not nervous during the game.

– Is this a reason why you did not go to the locker room in the half-time?

– Are you spying on me? I went there, but I did not stay long. I entered, screamed at my boys and went back to the field.

– You made the first substitution at the 25th minute of the match…

– The substitution was not caused by an injury. That was just our player who did not blend in the play.

– Was it your decision to choose the formation, or are you trying to follow the philosophy of the National team of Lithuania?

– It is our initiative now, but we thought about perspectives connected with the National team. We should master everything first, for our players do not have enough skills. You may see that we do not score in counterattacks, as our passes are too slow and sometimes do not reach their destination. That can be caused by the lack of experience, by tiredness or by high grass.

– Have you worked out your mistakes in penalty shoot-out?

– Everything was okay today. We spent a long time setting the right psychological stance of the players before the game. If you remember last time I was disappointed because the players did not want to try themselves in a shoot-out. This time seven players were eager to take a shot. Even the one who missed a penalty last time was among them. It means that we are on the right way.

 

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