Qatar team players walk off the Al Gharafa Stadium pitch following a training session in Doha yesterday. Qatar take on Yemen in their 2015 Asian Cup qualifying match at the same venue today.PICTURE: FADI AL ASSAD
DOHA: Qatar will be eyeing to pick up three points to put pressure on group leaders Bahrain when they host struggling Yemen in their 2015 Asian Cup qualifying match at Al Gharafa Stadium today.
Qatar have 3 points from two games whereas Group D leaders Bahrain have picked up 6 points from two matches.
Malaysia are in third place with three points whereas Yemen are at the bottom of the group after two losses.
“I have confidence in my players. They can do well. We can win this encounter,” coach Fahad Thani said yesterday.
“We have had good training sessions so far,” he added.
“We will be playing to pick up three points. That’s our target,” the coach said.
“I feel good after watching our preparation the entire week,” Thani said.
Last Wednesday, Qatar lost to Vietnam 1-2 in their international friendly played at the Al Gharafa Stadium, giving fans the doubt for today’s key Group D encounter.
Mohammed Al Sayed gave Qatar the lead in the 16th minute but Nguyen Trong Hoang equalised in the 20th and again found the target in the 29th.
“We are not worried about that loss,” coach Fahad said when asked about last week’s loss. “We are happy that most of our players got on the pitch and played the game,” he said without elaborating.
Today’s game starts at 7:30pm at Al Gharafa Stadium.
“We are not underestimating our opponents. They are a good side but we feel we have prepared well going into this match,” he added. Striker Sebastian Soria and fellow forward Khalfan Ibrahim will be key for the home side. Experienced midfielder Wisam Rizq is also available for the game.
Yemen coach Sami Al Nash admitted he had little info on his rivals though his team had been preparing well.
“We have been training for this game for three weeks,” Al Nash said at a press conference. “The national league has not started yet in Yemen so we have had to arrange a lengthy training camp for this match. “We had a good workout against Iraq (last week). Although we lost (3-2), we got impressive performances from some of the players,” he added.
“I must say we don’t have much info on our rivals. But we know they are a good side at home and can do well,” Al Nash said. “I think the return game (between Qatar and Yemen on November 15) will be decisive as to who advances from this group,” he said.
When asked about Qatar’s loss against Vietnam in a friendly last week, Al Nash said: “Yes, we know they lost but Qatar can come back strongly from that match. We just want to do a good job in this match.”
He added: “The entire bunch is keen to get on to the pitch and perform. We can’t wait for the match to start.”
The game today will be followed by a return match against the same opposition on November 15 (away game). Four days later on November 19, Qatar will take on hosts Malaysia.
The 2015 AFC Asian Cup qualification matches will determine the participating teams for the event to be held in Australia.
A total of 16 teams will compete in the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.