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MANAMA, BAHRAIN: A confident Qatar yesterday arrived in the Bahraini capital for their 2015 Asian Cup qualifying match against the hosts today.
Coached by Fahad Al Thani last month crushed Malaysia 2-0 in their Group B encounter at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium.
Today’s match will be Qatar’s third fixture in two weeks. On March 7, Qatar hammered Bob Bradley-coached Egypt 3-1 at Al Gharafa Stadium.
On March 17, Qatar edged past Thailand 1-0 in another friendly at Al Sadd Stadium.
Thani yesterday said his team was committed to giving their ‘best’ against hosts Bahrain today.
Fahad, who has guided his team to four wins in as many matches in charge since late January this year, added his team was not thinking about Qatar’s 2014 FIFA World Cup match against hosts Korea on March 26.
“My players are focused on the game against Bahrain. We are ready. We have prepared well. I am happy with the players’ physical conditioning,” Fahad said during a press conference yesterday just a couple hours after his squad landed here in Manama.
“We have played two intense friendlies in the last couple of weeks,” Fahad said while detailing his team’s preparations in the build-up to today’s clash.
“The players did well. The boys played as a unit. They feel confident now,” Fahad said.
“But we are not underestimating Bahrain. It will be a difficult match for both teams. Bahrain are good at home. We will see what happens in the match,” Fahad added.
When asked about Qatar’s World Cup qualifying match four days later, Fahad said: “Right now we are not thinking about that match. We are focused on this game. We want to win here. Our players are good and we will try to remain positive in the match (against Bahrain).”
The coach added: “A positive impact here will give the players confidence going into their next clash. A positive result (against Bahrain) will have a significant impact on the Korea game so that’s why we are focused on this match only.”
Fahad said: “We are at the initial stages of the Asian Cup qualifying. But we are at an advanced stage of the World Cup qualifying. So both games require different strategies.”
The Qatari coach said Qatar has the potential of ‘giving a good account today’.
“We have played in Bahrain many times in the past. We are not worried about home support for their team,” he said.
In a winning start to their Asian Cup qualifying campaign last month, Qatar picked up three points against Malaysia to top their group along side Bahrain, who beat Yemen in the corresponding fixture.
Today’s match will be first of two key important games for Qatar who fly to Korea from Manama.
On March 26, Qatar play hosts Korea in Seoul in their 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying game.
Qatar sit fourth in their Asian Zone World Cup qualifying phase with seven points.
Also known as ‘Al Anabi’, Qatar are behind leaders Uzbekistan, Korea and Iran.
Qatar trail Korea and Iran on goal difference with Koreans playing on game less. Coach Fahad will be looking forward to the strike force of forwards Sebastian Soria and diminutive striker Khalfan Ibrahim for goals against Bahrain who are formidable at home. THE PENINSULA