Qatar Football AssociationNews
16.10.2014 14:49 in :

Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar: Coach Zheng Xiong has talked up China’s quarter-final opponents Qatar ahead of their AFC U-19 Championship last-eight clash at Wunna Theikd Stadium on Friday.

Zheng saw former champions China come runners-up in Group C thanks, in large part, to their shock 2-1 opening day win against six-time finalists and regional rivals Japan.

Although China could only follow up that victory with consecutive draws against defending champions Korea Republic and Vietnam, they did enough to secure their place in the knockout stages and make up for a disappointing 2012 tournament, where the East Asians crashed out at the first hurdle.

“Qatar are a very good team and were first-placed in a difficult Group D. They are strong-hearted and have several good players at both ends of the field,” said China coach Zheng.

“Serigne Abdou and Assim Madibo are experienced and skilled defenders, while Almoez Ali and Ahmed Al Sadi are forwards with excellent individual ability that makes the speed of the Qatar attack very fast.

“We will try to keep a balance between attack and defence, though, and we are prepared for the whole 120 minutes and penalties if it comes to that.”

However, Zheng does have several injury concerns ahead of the tie with forward Xiang Baixu and midfielders Yao Junsheng and Zhang Xiuwei struggling to be fit in time.

“The injury situation is very bad. Xiang was injured in the first match against Japan and hasn’t recovered since, while Yao and Xhang are currently receiving treatment from the medical staff but it doesn’t look good.” added Zheng, who knows that the winner of the quarter-final tie will also secure a place at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

While opposite number Felix Sanchez Bas will have his own absence for the tie with defender Jasem Mohamed suspended after picking up two yellow cards in the group stages, it is another player, forward Al Sadi, that he feels – like Zheng – is Qatar’s key player in the tournament.

Al Sadi netted a hugely impressive four goals in three Group D games, scoring as Qatar defeated DPR Korea and Oman either side of a draw with 2012 finalists Iraq.

“Al Sadi has had a very good tournament so far, he’s been the one scoring the goals for us, so he’s the most important. However, if he plays tomorrow, we hope he contributes not only goals but also hard-work for the team,” said coach Sanchez Bas, whose side boasted the best goal difference and meanest defence in the group stage.

“We played very well in the group stage, but that is over now. We have to forget about them and focus on this new stage of the tournament, and against a team with a different style of football than we have faced before.

“There are many important factors in this game, but the key aspect will be on who can impose their style of play on the game, and thus feel more comfortable and in control – that will be a big advantage.”