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Calderon keen to look ahead to Qatar

Bahrain coach scrapes for positives from hosts’ poor start

Gulf News

Manama: Bahrain coach Gabriel Calderon has stayed positive despite the hosts having yet to find a win in the Gulf Cup, after a 2-1 loss to the UAE on Tuesday and a goalless draw with Oman on Saturday.

They must now beat Qatar in their final Group A game on Friday to stand any chance of survival through to the semi-finals of their own competition.

Bahrain dominated throughout Tuesday night’s game with the UAE in front of a capacity crowd, but succumbed to a late winner from Majid Hassan after Abdul Wahab Al Malood cancelled out Ali Mabkhout’s first half opener with 15 minutes to spare. Eight clear cut chances went begging for Bahrain, three of which were from substitute striker Jaycee John. But in the end Bahrain trudged off defeated leaving Calderon to lead a rallying cry.

“In our first match against Oman, we played a very good team and maybe we were a bit nervous. We saw a good level from Bahrain today against the UAE, but they are also a good side,” said the 52-year-old Argentine, who took over from Peter Taylor in October after the Englishman was sacked after a 6-2 friendly loss to the UAE.

“It was a very big match and I’m sure Arab football is very happy tonight after the quality that both teams showed.”

Calderon added: “I’m very happy with the team in the short time they have been with me and surely, after another two months, we will be better. But in the meantime our team must continue to work hard like they are doing now. The group is very strong but in our next match against Qatar, we will be playing for win.” Calderon added: “You have to take your chances in football and even if you have one chance and score it, you’ll win if the other team can’t take their advantage. Oman I think had six or seven more chances than Qatar tonight and still lost.

“We will play the same attacking style against Qatar but we will try to improve our finishing for the fans. I feel sad for all the Bahraini people tonight because I know how much they wanted this win, but now we can only focus on the next game.”