Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Autouri downplays Qatar’s victory chances

IKOLI VICTOR DOHA AHEAD of today’s must-win FIFA World Cup qualifier match, Qatar national team coach Paulo Autuori has downplayed the team’s chances of clinching a vital win against Lebanon at Al Sadd Stadium on Wednesday.

Qatar opened its campaign for Brazil 2014 with a 1-0 win over Lebanon in June as Sebastian Soria scored the only goal of the game, but Autuori’s side have subsequently shared a goalless draw in Iran before slumping 4-1 to South Korea and 1-0 to Uzbekistan at home.

With those results, Qatar is tied on 4 points with Lebanon sitting at the bottom in Group A, three behind Korea and Iran who currently occupy the automatic qualification berths.

But a second win against Lebanon, who stunned Iran 1-0 at home in its last competitive outing in September, would put Qatar right back in the mix although Autuori will be without defenders Bilal Mohammed, Meshal Mubarak, midfielders Majdi Siddiq and Abdulla Afifa due to injury.

However, defender Ibrahim Majed will return to action after missing the match against Uzbekistan last month through suspension.

“Our players have big motivation to win and they know what they are supposed to do,” said Autuori, who saw his side beat Iraq 2-1 last Wednesday.

“The players will give 100 percent against a Lebanon side that have some players playing professional football abroad.

“We will be playing to get the three points against Lebanon even though our opponents are better. But defeat will not be the end of the world and we must be realistic and accept defeat which would only come if our opponents are better.” Lebanon arrived in Doha on Sunday after gearing up for the match with a 2-0 win against a team made up of import players from the Lebanese league.

Midfielder Haytham Faour picked up a slight knock in the game but is expected to be back to full fitness for the showdown against Qatar, however, defender Ali Hamam will miss the game with a thigh injury.

“I’m satisfied with the preparations that we had for this match although our preparations for the game against Iran were better,” said Lebanon coach Theo Bucker.

“The match against Qatar will be very important and we have studied the tactics that we will use for the match very well.

“The chances of the two teams are equal. Although there is no comparison between the levels of football in the two countries, I am optimistic that we can get a good result especially after we lost three points against Qatar at home. We must win in order to maintain our chances,” Bucker added.

Doha will host the Iraq-Jordan Group B World Cup qualifier at the Al Arabi on Wednesday, as both side looks to get their qualification campaigns back on track after disappointing defeats last month.

The Jordanians lost 2-1 in Oman, while former Asian Cupwinners Iraq, coached by Brazilian legend Zico, conceded two goals in the final 10 minutes as they lost by the same score to the Socceroos

No comments:

Post a comment