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Tajikistan bow out of Asian Cup with 'honour and pride', says coach

Petar Segrt took Tajikistan to the last eight of the Asian Cup (KARIM JAAFAR)
Petar Segrt took Tajikistan to the last eight of the Asian Cup (KARIM JAAFAR)

Petar Segrt said his Tajikistan team exit their first Asian Cup with "honour and pride" after bowing out in the quarter-finals in a 1-0 defeat to Jordan on Friday.

The lowest-ranked team left in Qatar were the surprise package of the tournament before going down to a second-half own goal.

Segrt, the colourful Croatian coach who has lit up the competition with his humour, said the focus should be on his players' achievements.

"We are not celebrating today but in Tajikistan in one or two days when they go back I think the players will once again be celebrating," said the 57-year-old, who anticipates his men will receive a heroes' welcome.

"Nobody expected this (to go so far) at the tournament," he added.

"I was dreaming of something more, but now we see our limit.

"Tajikistan are going home but we can go home with honour and pride.

"The players deserve respect and a beautiful homecoming."

Segrt, who has been Tajikistan coach for two years, said his contract is up in February and will hold talks with the Central Asian country's football bosses.

"I'll take some rest and we'll see and make some decisions," he said.

Jordan will play South Korea or Australia in the semi-finals.

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