Kazakhstan, Lithuania Tie 1:1 in Exhibition Game; U-21 Team Beats Iceland 3:2

Kazakhstan-IcelandASTANA – The Kazakh national football team faced Lithuania in an exhibition game in Turkey on March 5 and tied the game after letting the Lithuanians score first in the first half. Earlier, the national under-21 team (U-21) beat Iceland 3:2 in qualifications for Euro 2015 in their game in Astana.

New national team head coach Yury Krasnozhan wasn’t pleased with the tie, though.

“On the one hand, yes, the result is fair. On the other hand, this game told us a lot about what we need to work on. But most importantly, we can’t be happy with a tie,” he said in an interview after his debut match.

Lithuanian midfielder Gediminas Vičius, who plays for top Kazakh football club Shaktyor in Karaganda, scored the first goal in the fourth minute.

In the second half, forward Nurbol Zhumaskaliyev scored the tying goal in minute 69.

“We did gather a lot of information, but we could have done more. Lithuania lost the initiative and we controlled the game,” Krasnozhan said. “And when we tied the game, we needed to push more to get the initiative, but we didn’t quite manage to do so.”

The national U-21 football team managed to break the game and take the initiative in their match against Iceland on their home turf, the capital’s Astana Arena.

Stanislav Lunin scored in the seventh minute to give Kazakhstan the lead and Roman Murtazayev doubled it five minutes later.

After intermission, the visiting team scored two goals of their own, one by Holmbert Fridjonsson in the 60th minute and another seven minutes later by Hjörtur Hermannsson. The home team took another blow when a red card was flashed in the 86th minute and Lunin, who scored the first goal, was asked to leave the field. With the game up for grabs, Islambek Kuat scored a final goal for Kazakhstan just one minute before the final whistle, taking home the win for the Kazakhs, 3:2.

“Maybe we relaxed a little in the second half,” said Murtazayev, who scored the second goal for Kazakhstan. “We thought we had already won, but thank God, we got back, focused and scored the third goal and won it.”

Despite the win, Iceland remains ahead of Kazakhstan in the standings with 12 points to Kazakhstan’s nine.

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