Qatar coach cautious as team seeks fifth win in World Cup qualifier
October 12 2015 05:27 PM
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Qatar's coach Jose Daniel Carreno has warned against complacency.

AFP/Doha

Qatar's coach Jose Daniel Carreno warned on Monday against complacency ahead of his team's 2018 World Cup qualifier against the minnows of Maldives.

Qatar go into Tuesday's match with four wins from four and sit on top of AFC Group C, five points ahead of their nearest rivals, Hong Kong and China.

They have scored 20 goals and conceded only two so far and are one of only three teams across the AFC with a perfect record, Saudi Arabia and South Korea being the other two.

Having just beaten China last week, a confident Qatar are fully expected to extend their 100% record against the Maldives.

Carreno, however, said they must be wary of their opponents.

"Usually, after each important win against a big team the level of performance comes down," he told reporters at a pre-match press conference.

"We are all focused on the Maldives match and nothing that comes after. It will be a very big step forward (if Qatar win) but it will not be decisive."

Despite his caution, Carreno's team only need to win, at most, three of their remaining four matches to progress to the next and most important stage of qualification where 12 teams from across Asia compete for four spots at the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.

Two of those matches come against Group C's bottom teams, Maldives and Bhutan, who Qatar beat 15-0 in the home fixture.

Qatar started their campaign with a 1-0 win in Male in June.

‘Big challenge’

New Maldives coach Ricki Herbert said his team would not be frightened and had not come just to defend.

"The game for us tomorrow is very exciting. Qatar are a very good team, a very strong team, it's a big challenge," he said. "We will be positive."

"Football is full of surprises and hopefully tomorrow we can see another one."

Herbert, who played in the 1982 World Cup finals with New Zealand and swapped shirts with Brazilian legend Socrates after their group clash 33 years ago, said he would play several "youngsters".

This includes teenage full-back Samooh Ali.

The 19-year-old is a semi-professional who works as a fisherman when not playing football, highlighting the differences in resources between the two sides.

Qatar, ranked 92nd in the world, train in elite facilities while Maldives ranked 176th, have just one pitch back home.

Hosts of the World Cup in 2022, Qatar are seeking to avoid becoming the first nation since Italy in 1934 to do so without ever playing in a finals beforehand.

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