Uzbekistan wary of Qatar strike force, early kick-off

October 16, 2012 - 4:31:34 am

DOHA: Uzbekistan football coach is wary of the Qatari strike force, saying the home team would be tough to beat when the two sides clash in their 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying match today. 

The visitors - who are without a win in three qualifying matches - are also concerned by the fact that the Group A, Asian Zone match kicks-off at 3:25pm. 

Qatar traditionally pin hopes on the dribbling skills of strikers Sebastian Soria and Khalfan Ibrahim for goals. The Qatari midfield is powered by reliable Fabio Cesar, a Brazilian-born with experience of playing at Napoli and Santa Cruz in his early days. 

“I have seen their tapes, especially their match against Iran. I must underline here that Qatar has good strikers and a strong midfield,” Uzbekistan coach Mirjalol Qosimov said yesterday. 

“I know they play well in counter-attacks, a style of play they use often when they are on away games. However, I expect them to attack from the start tomorrow (on Tuesday),” he added.

Team captain Timur Kapadze is keeping an eye on the weather patterns today. “We also know that both the sides need a win. It’s going to be really tough. It will be tough because of the temperature also,” Kapadze said. “But we can do a good job.

“We know that Qatar have skilful players. I know them from their games against Uzbekistan and from their Olympic Games days. I have watched them closely. But we have come here to win. It will be tough. 

“We hope to win our first match (in this qualifying campaign),” Kapadze added. 

“Yes, we have players who play in the Gulf, so, yes, that will help. The players who play in the Gulf have all the relevant info about our opponents,” coach Qosimov said.

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. Korea have a tally of 7 points from three matches.

“I think the reason we’ve struggled is because we haven’t converted the chances into goals. We got many chances against Iran but we failed to convert them into goals,” coach Qosimov said when asked about the lack of positive results in the World Cup qualifying campaign.

“We played a similar game against Korea and again we did not score. That’s been our main problem. We hope we can score against Qatar,” he added.