Kyrgyzstan 3 Philippines 1: Lux hat-trick gives White Falcons third-place hope

Vitalij Lux scored a hat-trick as Kyrgyzstan beat Philippines to boost their hopes of third-place qualification in the 2019 Asian Cup,

Kyrgyzstan players celebrating after scoring against Philippines.   -  Twitter: @afcasiancup

Kyrgyzstan gave itself a great opportunity of qualifying for the 2019 AFC 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 the opening two Group C games left Kyrgyzstan in a difficult position, but it 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.

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Kyrgyzstan was on top for most of the first period and was good value for its 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 was worthy winner and must now wait and see if it has 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 Lux struck the post from close range following a cut-back from the left.

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Lux did double 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.

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