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Kyrgyzstan gave themselves a great opportunity of qualifying for the 2019 Asian Cup knockout phase as one of the best third-placed teams after Vitalij Lux's hat-trick secured a 3-1 win over Philippines on Wednesday.
Defeats in their opening two Group C games left Kyrgyzstan in a difficult position, but they rallied against Sven-Goran Eriksson's men to secure third, finishing with three points and a neutral goal difference, which will likely be enough to see them through.
Kyrgyzstan were on top for most of the first period and were good value for their lead when Lux found the top-right corner, doing so again at the start of the second half.
The striker completed his treble late on, and although a fluke Stephan Schrock free-kick pulled one back for Philippines, Kyrgyzstan were worthy winners and must now wait and see if they have done enough to reach the last 16.
Kyrgyzstan took a deserved lead in the 24th minute, as Lux received a well-placed Akhlidin Israilov pass and struck a first-time effort into the top-right corner from 12 yards.
Israilov continued to be a nuisance, forcing Michael Falkesgaard into a save from distance 10 minutes later, before Kyrgyzstan's Edgar Bernhardt struck the post from close range following a cut-back from the left.
Lux doubled his tally early in the second half, sending an unstoppable strike into the net from 16 yards after a clever turn.
A close-range finish after a shot came back off the post allowed Lux to get his third of the day 13 minutes from time, though Eriksson's side did claw one back late on - Schrock's long-range free-kick going all the way in.
Goal! The Philippines pull one back! It's their first ever goal at the Asian Cup! Stephan Schröck's free-kick drifts into the goal!
Goal! Vitalij Lux scores his third! Kyrgyzstan are on fire!
Goal! It's a second goal of the game for Vitalij Lux! What a finish!
Goal! Vitalij Lux smashes Kyrgyzstan into the lead, rounding off a sharp move!
Team News! Sven Goran Eriksen goes with Javier Patiño to lead the line. Could his goals fire the Philippines into the round of sixteen? As for Kyrgyzstan keep an eye for German-born striker Vitalij Lux.
📝 Starting XIs for both teams: 🇰🇬 Kyrgyz Republic 🆚 Philippines 🇵🇭— #AsianCup2019 (@afcasiancup) January 16, 2019
A win is a must for both sides tonight to keep their hopes of qualifying to the next round alive #AsianCup2019 pic.twitter.com/lKKtSMprti
It's a big ask, but a win today for the Philippines could put them into the round of sixteen. Journalist Cedelf Tupas has had his say ahead of the big game!
Good afternoon! Welcome to the Live Updates of Kyrgyzstan Vs Philippines in the Asian Cup. Both sides can potentially make it to the round of sixteen with a victory and hope results go their way. For now, Kyrgyzstan has the upper hand but anything could happen as we finish Group C today. Join me for all the latest team news, build up and goals as they go in!