Krestinin can feel the belief growing ahead of UAE 2019

Kyrgyz Republic’s 2-1 win over Syria will instil confidence ahead of their inaugural AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 campaign, according to head coach Aleksandr Krestinin.

Goals to Kairat Zhyrgalbek uluu and Bekzhan Sagynbaev helped the Central Asians to a memorable win, and one which bodes well for upcoming meetings with Korea Republic, China PR and Philippines in the UAE.

Krestinin, who has overseen the side’s successful qualification campaign and a record rise in the FIFA Rankings, says his players are growing in belief.

“Every game is important, we had two matches this week and (Syria) is a high quality team,” said the Russian boss.

“Achieving such good results in such games gives the players confidence, and this is the level of opponents we have to play against, because in the final stages of the Asian Cup it’s not going to be easy.

“It was two very good teams that met on the pitch today (Monday) and I’m very happy with our game, especially in the second half. In the first half not everything went according to plan.

“I was pleased with our dynamics and ability to change the plan within the game to achieve our goals.”

The win against Syria, seen by over 7,000 fans on a wet Bishkek evening, extends Kyrgyz Republic’s two-year unbeaten run at Dolen Omurzakov Stadium, with a 2016 loss to the Philippines their last failure on home soil.

Meanwhile, Syria head coach Bernd Stange was forthright in his assessment of his players’ performance as the West Asian side remains searching for their first win of 2018.

The highly-experienced German mentor had been impressed by his side’s performance in a 1-1 away draw against Uzbekistan last week, but he was left disappointed by their display in Bishkek.

“We take away a very good match in Uzbekistan, where we played good football, and from this match we take away the experience that you have to work again and again,” he said.

“Maybe the players were still in Uzbekistan with their thoughts and they thought it would be an easy game today, well, they have been punished for that.

“It wasn’t a good performance from us. I couldn’t see anything that we created four or five days ago. This a problem we have to work on, and as a coach, i have to analyse why we lost our discipline on our pitch.

“Today we were not better than Kyrgyz Republic. They deserved to win,” he concluded.

Syria’s AFC Asian Cup Group B campaign will begin with a clash against Palestine in Sharjah on January 6. They will also face Jordan and Australia.