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Fossati demands concentration as Qatar eye first win

DOHA: Qatar look to register their maiden victory in the final round of the 2018 World Cup Asian Zone qualification when they take on West Asian rivals Syria in a Group A match at the Al Sadd Stadium on Tuesday. The match will kick off at 7pm Doha time.

Qatar have lost all three matches so far in the final round. After the defeats against Iran (0-2) and Uzbekistan (0-1), the Qatar Football Association replaced coach Daniel Carreno with his Uruguyayan counterpart Jorge Fossati ahead of the South Korea tie. Qatar raised hopes of an upset by taking a 2-1 lead at half-time in Suwon, only to lose 2-3 in the end.

Two teams each from Group A and B will book automatic berths at the Russia finals while the best third-placed teams will seek their place through play-offs. Qatar have set sights on the longest route, but even that looks tough at the moment as they are the only team not to have opened the account in their group.

Speaking at the pre-match Press conference, Fossati, however, exuded confidence.

“We’ll be playing a physically strong Syria, but we’ll try to play our football. We’ve players of quality to do it. It’ll be a tough game, but we’re very optimistic about our performance and result,” said Fossati.

“I know the excitement of the people of this country. But since I took over, I’ve always said qualifying for the Russia World Cup is very tough. If I can list 100 things from the South Korea game, then 90 of them are positives. There’re technical and tactical details about Tuesday’s game, but the most important will be mentality. If we play with full concentration, then we’ve the possibility to win,” said Fossati.

Syria increased their tally to four points from three games following their morale-boosting 1-0 win over China in Xi’an, but coach Ayman Hakeem said he was not taking Qatar lightly.

“We can’t take Qatar lightly despite them losing all three games. Qatar have a strong team and they’ve the home advantage. Since the beginning, we’ve said there’re no easy games in this round because the best 12 teams of Asia have reached here.

“Our country has been going through terrible times for the last six years, and we’re forced to play all our games away. Despite the difficulties and crisis, we’ll try to draw a smile on the faces of our people,” said Hakeem. – Doha Stadium Plus

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