Scouting the Opponent: Kyrgyzstan
When: 19/05/2014 1200 GMT
Where: Galolhu National Stadium, Malé, Maldives
TV: BeIn Sports 6 // Follow the action Live on YouTube.
FIFA Rank: 146th (24th in Asia)
30/03/2009 // Kathmandu, Nepal// 2010 Challenge Cup Qualifying D 1-1
09/04/2006 // Dhaka, Bangladesh// 2006 Challenge Cup L 0-1
16/05/2014 @ Kuwait D 2-2
12/05/2014 v. Afghanistan L 0-1
13/04/2014 v. Afghanistan D 0-0
19/11/2013 @ Indonesia L 0-4
01/11/2013 v. Azerbaijan D 0-0
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Background: It's been an tumultuous four years for Kyrgyzstan but one that might be punctuated with unexpected glory. The Kyrgyz were part of the same three team group five years ago that saw binary draws result in all three teams finishing on two points but were cruelly eliminated from competing for a spot at the 2011 Asian Cup after being drawn alongside Turkmenistan and Korea DPR in the 2010 Finals. The following year, Kyrgyzstan avoided playing in the preliminary stage of World Cup Qualifying only to be drawn against Uzbekistan. A 7-0 aggregate loss ensued.
Despite good performances in continental club competitions- Kyrgyzstan continued to struggle. The Kyrgyz failed to qualify for the 2012 edition after losing to Maldives and Tajikistan- their final game against Cambodia saw them win but only after they conceded three to an anemic Cambodian side.
Fortunes have been reversed over the past two years however with the Kyrgyz sealing qualification without conceding a goal or dropping a point. The hallmark of their qualification campaign was a 1-0 victory against Central Asian rivals Tajikistan.
Challenge Cup Squad: There's a more cosmopolitan look to the Kyrgyz squad this time around with the likes of the naturalized Claude Maka Kum, Elijah Ari, Daniel Tego, and David Tetteh now key pieces of the squad. The Hilal Al-Quds and Shabab Al-Dhahrieh contingent will be familiar with many players in this squad having faced Dordoi Bishkek and Aly Osh in the President's and AFC Cup, respectively. Four foreign based players are included in this squad: Goalkeeper Vladislav Volkov (Khayr Vahdat/TJK), Defender Elijah Ari (Tursunzoda/TJK), and midfielders Anatoliy Vlasichev (Spartak Semey/KAZ) and Vadim Kharachenko (Tavsanli Linyitspor/TUR).
Key Player: David Tetteh score all three goals during Challenge Cup qualifier and will be depended on to spark the team. He plays as a withdrawn forward in Kyrgyzstan's 5-3-2 formation and he will be depended on to add the attacking verve to a side that can lack ideas in the final third.
Style of Play: Kyrgyzstan is a reactive team. They like to defend deep and frustrate opponents and are one of the few teams who still play with a libero. Their goals tend to come from set pieces or quick counters. Look for Palestine to neutralize their threat by pressing them in high up the pitch in central areas or to sit back and invite Kyrgyzstan to attack before launching counters of their own.