Eliminated by Monday’s defeat to Ahal, the Kyrgyz Premier League champions were much improved in Thursday’s 3-0 win at Dolen Omurzakov Stadium, with Joel Kojo opening the scoring with his first goal for the club before Abai Bokoleev scored twice in a Player of the Match performance.
Dordoi’s dominance was evident by their staggering tally of 35 shots at goal, 12 of which were on target, and Krestinin confirmed his side had felt a need to go some way towards atoning for their early exit.
“Congratulations to our fans,” says Krestinin. “Of course, we could have played better and scored more goals, but that’s the way it goes.”
“Of course, we were disappointed before the match, and it was difficult to motivate ourselves, but we had to win this game.”
The addition of the lively Kojo was one of a number of changes made to Dordoi’s starting line-up, with Krestinin’s son Kirrill slotting in the heart of defence, while Kazakhstani defender Magamed Uzdenov played in central midfield.
Krestinin says the switches were made out of necessity due to fitness concerns rather than any pre-planned tactical switch, but that they had resulted in an improved defensive performance.
“It wasn’t that we wanted to rotate the team,” he explained. The players who were ready to play today; they played.
“One week ago, I had only 13 players fit. Some of them recovered, other players made mistakes and so some players got the chance today and took it.
“In the last match we had some mistakes, and we saw today that Uzdenov wasn’t playing as a central defender but remained in the starting line-up. We have to always think about the defence, and it was an improvement on the last game, where we weren’t good.”
With their continental participation as a club is over for 2021, the international action will continue for several of Dordoi’s players, and Krestinin himself, in next month’s Asian Qualifiers.
No less than 12 Dordoi players have been called up in Krestinin’s Kyrgyz Republic national team squad, who will resume their campaign against Mongolia in Osaka on June 7.