Al-Qaasimy: We should have taken the three points
Despite matching their opponents for large periods of the game at the Ansan Wa Stadium, the young Lions ultimately ended up with nothing to show after a lapse of concentration resulted in Tajikistan centre back Siyovush Asrorov stealing in to head home a late winner.
Speaking to FourFourTwo after the game, Al-Qaasimy lamented what could have been had his side had held on longer.
“We could have taken all three points, if not one,” the 22-year-old said.
“The whole team feels that we do not deserve to lose this game. We’ve played with top Asian opposition in Bahrain a few weeks back and we ended up victorious.
“Thus we played the same way against Tajikistan – hard pressing, keeping possession as much as we can and making good use of counter-attacks.
“We gradually took control of the game, played the football we wanted and created chances which we should have finished off.
“We had more chances than them through open play and were perhaps unlucky to lose the points through a last-minute set-piece.”
Despite having up to eight players inside the penalty area to defend Umedzhon Sharipov’s corner, no defender picked up Asrorov as the 22-year-old found himself in plenty of space to head past Hassan Sunny.
When asked to recall that goal, Al-Qaasimy clearly struggled for words.
“I’m not too sure about that, actually,” he said.
“I was marking my man who is the No. 17 (Dilshod Vasiev)and the next thing I knew, I saw the No. 3 coming in to head the ball in.”
With difficult opponents in Oman and Palestine to come their final two Group C matches, it looks like the Lions now face an uphill task to make it to the last 16.
However Al-Qaasimy is adamant his side still stand a good chance of progression.
“The chances of going through are still open,” insisted the Courts Young Lions captain.
“Although we lost, there’re plenty of positives from this game to bring forward.
“Now we shift the focus to the next two games and we will want to win them for the flag on our chests, our families and also our friends back home.”
Image Credit: Football Association of Singapore