Agencies/ Austin, Texas
Qatar’s defender Abdelkarim Hassan yesterday said that his team’s preparations to face the US in the semi-finals of the Gold Cup ‘are going well.’ The two teams will clash in the last four contest of the tournament on Thursday night (2:30am Qatar time).
Hassan said Qatar is aiming for a win to secure a spot in the final of the hugely popular tournament. “We achieved our goal in the match against El Salvador match by reaching the semi-finals. It was not an easy match since we are playing in this tournament for the first time,” Hassan said.
“The teams we faced here have participated in the World Cups, and this confirms that the level of competition is high. Against El Salvador, we raced to a 3-0 lead but then lost focus (on Saturday). This led to us conceding two goals,” he added.
He affirmed Qatar’s defensive ability and shrugged off the two goals conceded after leading El Salvador 3-0, stressing that “the mistakes of the El Salvador match will not be repeated.”
“We play a match every three days, and we have played four matches so far, but our medical staff is doing a great job by helping the players recover soon,” Hassan said.
Qatar defeated El Salvador 3-2 in a thrilling quarter-final to seal their place in the 2021 Gold Cup semi-finals at the State Farm Stadium on Saturday. A brace by Almoez Ali and Abdulaziz Hatim’s strike saw Qatar race into a 3-0 lead before El Salvador pulled two back to give the reigning AFC Asian Cup champions a nervy final 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, Qatar’s winger Pedro Correia is thrilled with Qatar’s fighting quarter-final win over El Salvador. “We achieved our goal, which was to reach the semi-finals of the tournament. It was the important thing for us when we got to the venue,” Correia said. “We played a great match, especially in the first half in which we scored two goals. In the second half, we scored the third goal, but we went defensive, which was a mistake. In addition, we were also a little slack after scoring two goals. We conceded two goals, which increased the pressure on us during the match. But in the end, we achieved the desired goal, which was to win the game,” he added.
Regarding the pressure of matches due to playing every three days, the right full-back said: “Certainly, there is a lot of pressure through travelling and moving from one place to another. All of this puts weight on the players, but notwithstanding that, we won the match and qualified for the semi-finals.”
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