Abu Dhabi: Saudi Arabia coach Juan Antonio Pizzi insists their 2-0 loss against Qatar has done no harm to his side’s confidence going into the round of 16 of the AFC Asian Cup.
Having finished second in the group behind Qatar, the Green Falcons will be facing tough opponents in the shape of Japan.
“I’m not at all worried about Japan as we are already think about that game. We couldn’t win the game against Qatar but in the defeat also there were a lot of positive things,” said Pizzi, whose players created a few opportunities but failed to make it count.
“There were some good individual performances and we also kept the possession of the ball. The game today was complicated for both the teams. We tried to impose our game and tried to play forward as much as we can.
“We shouldn’t forget, the opponents also had a lot of quality, especially in the second half they managed a lot of spaces to attack. They tried to exploit that but we didn’t suffer by conceding more goals,” said Pizzi adding that, they respect all their opponents and the same goes with Japan as well.
“We don’t consider anyone superior or inferior. We will try to improve in our next game and try not to repeat the mistakes that we did in this match,” added the Argentine.
Qatar coach Félix Sánchez felt that, the success against Saudi would do a world of good to his team’s confidence going into the clash against Iraq.
“The players showed a lot of spirit. It is good for the team to finish with confidence heading into the next round,” said Sanchez adding, “We knew before the game that it will be a tough game as Saudi has good quality. Created chances against a team it is difficult to create chances. Players showed a good performance and that gives us more boost,” said
Sánchez, whose team’s both goals were scored by Almoez Ali, who with his total of seven for the tournament has eclipsed the six-goal record in single Asian Cup tournament held by Korea Republic’s Lee Dong-gook since 2000.
“Almoez is a centre-forward and he has been very effective for us. He is doing a great job for the team. Scoring from him has helped us tremendously to win games and hopefully, he will continue to keep improving,” said Sanchez who rated his next opponent from Mesopotamia as one of the strongest in the competition.
“Iraq is a tough opponent. Any team from here on is going to be tough. We know we have to play a great game to be able to compete against a team like Iraq with talented players and that is strong. We will give our best.”