In the quarter-final of U20 Asian Cup, China lost to S. Korea 1-3 after taking a surprising lead at the beginning of the second half. A controversial penalty drew South Korea level and an exhausted China, who played last game a day later than their opponent and made no rotation in the game, was defeated in extra time. After the game, winger Mutellip Iminqari, who scored the brilliant goal for China from an almost impossible angle, was interviewed by the media.
Q: After being tied by the opponent after scoring a goal first, we had to go into overtime and eventually lost the game. What do you think of the team’s performance?
Mutellip Iminqari: First of all, we did the technical and tactical things according to the head coach’s request, and didn’t let the other team play with momentum. Secondly, we took the lead at the beginning of the second half and the whole game was going in our favor. Even when we were tied, we never gave up.
We always felt that we could have beaten them and had no problem scoring a few more goals. But it was a bit of a shame to lose the game in the end. I think we played with our style and put up a good fight because when we played the group stage, many people thought we wouldn’t get out of the tournament, and probably they didn’t expect us to get the lead today. However, we did it all. Of course, the final result didn’t satisfy everyone.
Q: What about yourself?
Iminqari: I think I played well. First of all, I would like to thank my teammates and the coaching staff for working together to get to this point, and I basically performed at my level. However, I’m really sorry and unhappy that I didn’t win.
Q: Although you didn’t win the game, the goal you scored today, with a zero-angle shot, was very beautiful. What did you think about it at that time?
Iminqari: At that time, I looked at the ball before I took off and saw a teammate receiving it, but I saw that the opponent’s goalkeeper had moved a step ahead, so I thought it might be better if I chose to shoot, so I decided to shoot, and it went in.
Q: Although the result of today’s game was rather unfortunate, I believe the fans will support you, because, for a long time, the Chinese team has not played with this kind of momentum.
Iminqari: But the result was not good, not the way everyone wanted.
Q: No matter what, after all, still young, there are many more important games ahead, there will be more opportunities to face, how do you think about yourself?
Iminqari: The first thing is to do a good job at every step, and pay attention to every detail. After returning to China, I have to strengthen my training specifically for my deficiencies.
Secondly, I think I have to put my mind at ease, because we didn’t get good results in the U20 Asian Cup this time, but we can fight to realize our dreams in the next U23 Asian Cup, the next Asian Games, or the Olympic qualifiers.