Kyrgyzstan plays with defender in goal in qualifying match


SEOUL — Kyrgyzstan was forced to play a World Cup qualifying match with a defender in goal on Monday because all three of the national team’s keepers were self-isolating following a COVID-19 outbreak.

Defender Aizar Akmatov instead played between the posts, allowing one goal in a 1-0 loss to Mongolia in Group F. Oyunbaataryn Mijiddorj scored in the 34th minute for the visitors.

Mongolia is ranked 192nd of FIFA’s 211 teams. Kyrgyzstan is ranked 99th.

Also in Group F, Japan beat Tajikistan 4-1 for its seventh victory in seven matches in the second round of Asian qualifying.

Japan had already secured a place in the third round of qualifying.

Kyogo Furuhashi, Takumi Minamino, Kento Hashimoto and Hayao Kawabe all scored for Japan, while Ehsoni Panshanbe scored for Tajikistan — the first goal Japan has conceded in 549 minutes.

Only the eight group winners progress automatically to the third round, which is set to start in September, along with the four best second-place teams.

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