Confident Qatar ready for key qualifier against Uzbekistan

 15 Oct 2012 - 6:51


The players of  Qatar national football team listen to instructions from head coach Paulo Autuori of Brazil during a training session at Aspire Academy yesterday. Qatar will host Uzbekistan in their 2014 FIFA World Cup, Asian Zone, qualification match at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha tomorrow.

DOHA:  Hosts Qatar take on Uzbekistan in a key 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying match tomorrow, knowing a win on home soil could help them pick up three valuable points in the race to reach Brazil. 

Qatar are in third place in Group A of Asian Zone qualifying behind points leaders South Korea and Iran. 

Lebanon are in fourth spot whereas Uzbekistan are lying at the bottom of the table. 

Qatar now have four points from three matches. Iran, too, have four points, thanks to a win over Uzbekistan. Korea have a tally of 7 points from three matches. 

Coached by Paulo Autuori, Qatar played two friendlies last week - against Jordan and Oman - following an intensive training camp held in neighboring UAE. The camp lasted for a week. 

The match against Jordan lifted the team’s spirit, Autouri said. The match ended in a 1-1 draw on October 8.

“The good thing was my boys played minus the errors. They exploited opportunities to score and influenced key moves,” Autuori said.

“In general terms, it was a good game. We have good replacements,” he added. “In case there is an injury or some other concern, then we have the players to fill the gap,” the Qatar coach added.

“In our game against Oman, we gave chances to players who did not make it to the pitch (against Jordan on Monday),” he said.

The training camp in the UAE boosted the moral of the players. 

Qatar midfielder Wisam Rizq said: “We want to make the most of the training camp here (in Abu Dhabi). We have an important match coming up. It was good to be there. The backroom staff is doing a great job with all the players.”

Qatar Football Association (QFA) President Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Thani said Qatar’s friendly against Jordan was hugely ‘beneficial’ to home team. 

“Jordan has quality players in their side so this match was good practice for Qatar,” Sheikh Hamad said after the match.

“We are trying to settle down on a combination for our game against Uzbekistan so this game helped us is many ways,” he added.

“I am confident that Qatar will prepare well for their clash against Uzbekistan,” he said.

Autuori’s side has played three World Cup qualifying matches in this phase. On June 12, Qatar stunned hosts Iran with a brave show to walk off Azadi Stadium with a goalless draw. 

The goalless draw came after a 4-1 thrashing by Korea Republic in Doha on June 8. Five days earlier Qatar beat Lebanon 1-0 on June 3. 

In the match against Iran, the Qatari defence, much maligned after their match against Korea, kept the Iranians at bay, hardly giving them a clear chance at goal. 

A 30th minute shot by Iran captain Javed Nekounam was the best chance the hosts had, but unluckily for them the ball hit the crossbar, with goalkeeper Qassim Burhan clearly beaten.

The Qataris had a couple of half chances which they squandered. Striker Sebastian Soria was allowed a clear run down the right flank halfway through the first half but there was nobody to meet his cross as the ball sped across the face of the goal.

A long-range effort by Fabio Cesar was calmly collected by goalkeeper Mehdi Rehmati, who also blocked a Hassan Al-Haidous header off a corner in the 34th minute. 

Burhan, Soria, Cesar and Al Haidous are available for selection for the clash tomorrow. 

Squad: Qasim Burhan, Baba Malick, Rajab Hamzeh, Ahmed Sufyan, Mesaad Al Hamad, Hamed Ismail, Mohammed Kasola, Taher Zakaria, Khaled Saleh, Ibrahim Maged, Ibrahim Al Ghanem, Marconi, Khaled Muftah, Wisam Rizq, Younes Ali, Talal Albloushi, Magid Siddiq, Abdulla Taleb Afifa, Hussain Ali, Abdulaziz Hatem, Lawrence Quaye, Adel Lamy, Fabioa Cesar, Khalfan Ibrahim, Hassan Alhaydous, Mohammed Alsayed Jeddou, Maged Mohammed, Mohammed Razak, Sebastian Soria, Jarralah Al Marri and Yusef Ahmed. Coach: Paulo Autuori. Team manager: Abdulrahman Al Mahmoud. 

The Peninsula