Sanchez: We will give 100%
Yangon, Myanmar: Coach Felix Sanchez Bas has called on his Qatar players to give their all one last time ahead of Thursday’s AFC U-19 Championship final against three-time winners DPR Korea.
Following Monday’s gruelling 3-2 victory over hosts Myanmar that required 120 minutes of play to separate the sides, the West Asians are now set to come full circle as they take on their opening day opponents in the tournament’s climax when they return to Thuwunna Youth Training Centre Stadium.
Qatar’s undefeated run to the final began with that 3-1 comeback victory over DPR Korea in Matchday One of Group D with their unbeaten sequence continuing with a draw with Iraq and victory over Oman to top the group, before a rollercoaster 4-2 win against China in the quarter-finals.
“Qatar has never won the AFC U-19 Championship and this is the only chance these players will have before their move to more senior teams,” said Qatar coach Sanchez Bas, who has led his side to their first-ever final at the AFC U-19 Championship.
“They have displayed amazing efforts, throughout diverse scenarios, and we will make this one final effort to win the championship.
“The players have great spirit so I’m sure we will give 100% and give our maximum to win the cup.”
Since their opening day defeat the Koreans too have been in good form and have not lost a second time, finishing runner-up in Group D before a quarter-final win on penalties over Japan and a hugely impressive 5-0 drubbing of Uzbekistan on Monday.
And Sanchez Bas is in no doubt of the tough test his players face when they take on the East Asian powerhouse.
“Game after game DPR Korea have grown as a team and picked up some great results since we first played them. The first game was very tough, they were very good organised, and it was a close game,” he added.
“It was clear they had good quality and since they have gone on to beat the big teams during this competition which is why they are here in the final.
“We expect a very hard game but we will do our best to get a good result.”
The Spaniard will be boosted by the return of Assim Madibo after the midfielder missed the semi-final through suspension, but even with this welcome addition to their ranks Qatar captain Ahmad Moein is sure he and his team-mates face a significant challenge on Thursday.
“Even though we beat them once before, that was a different match, and I’m expecting a much harder game tomorrow,” said the 19-year-old midfielder.
“They are a very good team with good qualities and good players. Not only strong as individuals but also as team, just like us.
“I am very proud to be with the team in the final, the first time for a Qatar team. I hope me and my team can show a good game – we are ready to play.”