Posted on July 21, 2017
Qatar U-23 coach Felix Sanchez said that his players would be more clinical in front of goal when they face India in their second encounter of the AFC U-23 Championship China 2018 Qualifiers at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium on Friday.
 
Akaram Afif was the hero netting a brace as Qatar blanked Turkmenistan 2-0 on Wednesday. The KAS Eupen striker scored both goals in the first half and almost got his hat-trick in the second period when he out sprinted a crowd of Turkmenistan defenders to ran down a decent through ball from Abdullah Abdulsalam, but keeper Berdiyev Dovletyar denied him with a fine save. He was however substituted with twenty-one minutes still to play as coach Sanchez saved him for challenges ahead.
 
Speaking after the match, Sanchez said:"This was our first match and first matches are usually very difficult, but we played very well. I think we created chances, which are good news, but we weren't very effective. I think our players tried hard and made plenty of opportunities. Hopefully, we can do better in the next matches and score more goals." "We'll take one game at a time. India is a disciplined side and let us put our mind on our next game. We don't want to think about Syria now," he added.
 
India on the hand fell to a physically strong Syria 2-0. The Indian defense must be at its best to stop Qatar's rampaging attack which must win with a bigger margin that should put them ahead of Syria as only one group winners qualify for the main tournament in China next year. Indian coach Stephen Constantine speaking ahead of the match said:"They look very quick at times. They have an utmost quality I must say. It'll be a big challenge for us against them." Despite the team's loss to Syria, Stephen praised his boys for their display in the first match of the Qualifiers."The boys played their heart out but eventually, the lack of experience cost us the match," he said.
 
"Some of the boys might have had a good game but I believe this is a team game where everyone needs to perform and they've had a great team effort tonight. We'll take it forward to the next game,'' he added. With about two thousand fans cheering the Qatari team against Turkmenistan, Sanchez charged supporters to come cheer the players like they did when Qatar hosted the championship in 2016. Indian coach hopes a sizable number of Indian fans will come to the stadium to cheer the players against the host. "When you're playing at this stage, you want the stadium to be full. It keeps the adrenaline flowing amongst the players. Personally, I hope a good number of Indians will turn out in our support tomorrow."
 
Goals from Mohammed Rabie Srour and Mohammed Fares Arnaout helped Syria beat India. On Friday, Syria will square up against Turkmenistan knowing anything less of a win could affect their chances of a direct qualification. For Turkmenistan, it is a must-win match to have a chance of qualifying to China 2018.
 
source: Qatar Tribune

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