14 Jan 2018 - 10:56
Qatar eye last-8 berth with China scalp
CHANGZHOU: Qatar will be eyeing a win against hosts China tomorrow when the two sides meet in the third AFC U-23 Asian Cup match, influential defender Bassam Al Rawi said yesterday.
A win tomorrow would give Group A leaders the points to seal a quarter-finals berth at Changzhou Olympic Sports Center.
In an interview, Al Rawi said unbeaten Qatar cannot afford to relax despite Friday’s 1-0 win over Oman. In their opening match of the tournament, Qatar - coached by Felix Sanchez - beat Uzbekistan 1-0. In another game last Friday, Uzbekistan stunned hosts China 1-0.
“We played well versus Oman, we gave our best and we got the three points,” Al Rawi told the website.
The talented Al Duhail defender was a member of the Qatar squad at the 2016 edition of the AFC U23 Championship.
“At this stage (of the tournament), we always play to win and to get those all-important three points,” Al Rawi added.
“We have six points, but that doesn’t mean we have qualified. We need to take three points against China,” he said.
China began their AFC U23 Championship campaign in style courtesy of a comprehensive 3-0 win over Oman but dropped points against Uzbekistan on Matchday Two.
While recognising the size of the task that awaits Qatar when they face China, Al Rawi is optimistic of his side’s chances of a victory tomorrow.
“It is going to be a difficult game, especially as we are playing at their home ground,” Al Rawi explained.
“There might be a full stadium, and I think it’s going to be a difficult for us to win, but we can do it. We are feeling confident and we will always go for the win.”
Qatar captain Akram Afif said: “Our second win was great. We had to work very hard. It gives us confidence. We are looking forward to our next game.”