Despite a second-half scare, Kyrgyzstan advanced to the semifinals of the Bangamata U-19 Women’s International Gold Cup with a hard-fought 2-1 win over United Arab Emirates (UAE) in their Group B encounter at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
The outcome also ensured semifinal berth for hosts Bangladesh, who will face Kyrgyzstan tomorrow to decide Group B winners while UAE, with two consecutive defeats, were eliminated from the group stage.
Smarting from a 2-0 defeat against Bangladesh, UAE were eager to bounce back in the tournament but two miserable fumbles from goalkeeper Aya Walid Malalla and a missed spot-kick forced UAE to accept a 2-1 defeat, identical to last year’s AFC U-19 Women’s Championship Qualifiers against the same opposition.
Both sides played attacking football and created some good chances but Kyrgyzstan had the last laugh after UAE’s substitute Sendya Gharib missed a spot-kick in the 70th minute to squander an opportunity to equalise.
Even though the UAE goalkeeper though thwarted Saskeeva Aiperi from a one-on-one situation in the fifth minute, she failed to stop Boronbekova Aizhan’s corner-kick from embracing the net in the next minute.
Malalla then made another unforgettable fumble in the 18th minute to concede the second goal as she failed to grip a Toktobolotova Banktygul corner, allowing unmarked Kyzy Kenzhebubu headed home from close range.
Despite going down 2-0, UAE showed character to pull one back in the 39th minute as Shahid Alzarkan converted a spot-kick after Kellishova Baiana handled the ball inside the danger zone.
UAE came close to equalising the margin in the 41st minute but Sara Sameeh Alblooshi missed the target despite getting Kyrgyzstan goalkeeper Tolonova Aichurek alone.
After resumption, Shahid Alzarkan saw her close-range shot blocked by a Kyrgyz defender while Sendya Gharib floated over the crossbar from the spot after referee Wang Chien awarded a penalty following a foul on Sara Shameeh inside the danger zone.
Kyrgyzstan were reduced to 10 players after Boronbekova Aizhan was sent off with three minutes remaining, but the Central Asians negotiated the rest of time to leave the field with a valuable victory.
“We have come here with good preparation and the girls put up a good show in front of a small group of our fans,” Kyrgyzstan coach Natalia Gaivornoskaia said, adding that the red card to Boronbekova would be great loss for them in the Bangladesh match.
“We played well but there was lack of experience. We were very unlucky to lose the match because we could have drawn had we not squandered the penalty,” said UAE coach Houriya Al Taheri.