Maroons turn the page on heavy defeat, going into decisive Turkmenistan clash
Tashkent, Uzbekistan: The Qatar U23 national team turned the page on the heavy 6-0 defeat to hosts Uzbekistan in the second round of the AFC U23 Asian Cup group stage and moved on to the preparations for the final group game against Turkmenistan. Al-Annabi’s chances of qualification rest on a victory over Turkmenistan, along with Iran’s failure to win against Uzbekistan, with any other result leading to the team’s exit from the tournament at the group stage.
The technical staff tried to restore the players’ physical fitness through the recovery process yesterday at the squad’s residence in the Hyatt Regency hotel in Tashkent and checked on the players’ condition. The players have put the Uzbekistan game behind them and are entirely focused on the match against Turkmenistan, in which they will go all out for a win, in the absence of an alternative, and hope that Iran stumbles against Uzbekistan with either a defeat or a draw. “I am here to help the players get out of the negative mindset, and we must try to restore our confidence,” the Chilean said at the Uzbekistan post-match press conference.
Qatar are scheduled to conclude their preparations for the game against Turkmenistan with a final training session today at the Bunyodkor Stadium, which will host the game tomorrow. It will be a crucial training session for the coach to check on the players’ technical and mental state and select the starting lineup to make sure the team bounces back, wins, and goes through to the next round. The game is critical as the chances of qualification are still present.
Cordova and his assistants will try as much as possible to make up for the fateful errors that the team made, which caused the unexpected and heavy loss against the hosts. The coach knows that the task will not be easy against Turkmenistan, who have been the surprise team in the group so far, with the 2-0 win over Iran which made them a strong contender for the second qualification ticket to follow Uzbekistan, who have already booked their spot in the knockout stage with two wins in two games.
Therefore, the coach will try to play all his cards against the Turkmen team, in search of a victory, with the hope that the result of the game between Iran and Uzbekistan will serve his side’s chances of grabbing the second qualifying spot from Group A.