With qualification at stake, Qatar take on Japan today
October 19 2016 11:43 PM
Qatar players warm up during a training session on the eve of their AFC U-19 Championship match against Japan in Bahrain yesterday. PICTURES: Fadi al-Assaad

AFC Manama

Qatar coach Oscar Moreno is gearing up for what promises to be an intriguing encounter against Group C joint-leaders Japan in their AFC U-19 Championship Bahrain 2016 match today.
Although the defending champions are unbeaten in this year’s tournament so far, just like their next opponents, Moreno is keen to avoid any slip ups going into the final group game at Bahrain National Stadium.
Qatar drew 1-1 with the Islamic Republic of Iran in their opening match, following it up with a late Abdulrasheed Umaru winner to beat Yemen 1-0 on Monday despite struggling to finish off chances throughout the game.
“I’m not happy with the efficiency from our attackers but the important thing is that we are creating chances,” said Moreno.
“I fully trust our three strikers, Abdulrasheed, Hassan (Ahmad) Palang and Sayed (Issa) and if they keep on working, the goals will come.
“Japan are a different opponent to the teams we’ve faced so far, they have another style of play that makes their senior team one of the favourites to win the Asian Cup.
“We will try to make them uncomfortable on the pitch and make sure they don’t have as much possession as they’d like.
“It will be a nice game despite the pressure because both teams are playing for qualification”.
Meanwhile, Japan, who have finished runners-up on six different occasions but have never won the tournament, are keen to recover from a gritty goalless draw against the Iran on Monday.
“Of course we wanted to win and get three points against Iran but we’re okay with a draw” said coach Atsushi Uchiyama.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game but before the tournament began, I was predicting that we would need to play all three games to decide who would qualify from this group.
“This game against Qatar will be decisive so I need to decide which are the best eleven players for my team, taking into consideration the conditions and fatigue. I am open to changing some players”.
Today’s simultaneous kickoff, Iran take on Yemen, who have nothing to play for but pride following their elimination on Monday.
Amir Peiravani’s men are still in contention, but know that only a win will do after two consecutive draws against leaders Qatar and Japan.
“The match between us and Yemen is a new start,” said the Iran coach.
“I don’t want to think about Japan anymore now that match is finished. My players will just concentrate on this match with Yemen and hope to win and qualify.”
Opponents Yemen impressed on Monday against Qatar but came away empty-handed after conceding a late goal.
Coach Mohamed al-Nufiay is proud of his charges and hopes they will finally open their account against Iran after failing to register any goals in the losses to Japan and Qatar.
“I’m proud that my team is one of the 16 best teams in Asia,” said the Yemen coach.
“Hopefully they will score and get a goal tomorrow. I know they will perform even better than they have in our previous two games.”

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