Tashkent: Qatar face a tough task to get their campaign back on track when they play Uzbekistan in Group A of the AFC U-23 Asian Cup at the Pakhtakor Stadium in Tashkent on Saturday.
Nicolas Cordova’s men were denied a victory by Iran in their opener and are on one point from the 1-1 draw while Uzbekistan lead the group with three points, thanks to their 1-0 win over Turkmenistan.
Qatar were on the backfoot for the better part of their opening game but showed that despite enjoying limited possession, they could still prove dangerous. Cordova firmly believes his charges will get better as the tournament progresses.
“As I’ve said before, we’re working with a young team and are working towards the development of this team in this tournament,” said Cordova.
“We’ll analyse Uzbekistan, and then analyse our own team and what we need to do to tackle our opponents in the next game.”
Cordova was happy with the commitment shown by his players but Qatar need an overall improvement in their attacking game to move past the hosts.
Uzbekistan recorded a thumping 22 total shots in their opener, but it took an Ulugbek Khoshimov penalty to seal a win. Head coach Timur Kapadze has been concentrating on fixing their scoring problem ahead of Saturday’s clash.
“In football the opening game is always difficult but we’ll improve in the next match against Qatar,” said Kapadze.
“We had a short time to prepare and I’m pleased with my players and I know that apart from our lack of finishing, we created plenty of chances.”
The former Uzbekistan international is well aware of Qatar’s strengths but is focused on ensuring his team will be at their best.
“Qatar may have drawn with Iran but they’ll be difficult opponents. In our practice sessions, we went through some drills on set-pieces so that we can better deal with situations.
“What we must also improve is the players’ communication with each other. We can play decent football but I feel we can improve further with better understanding of each other’s movements during the game,” he said.
Source: Qatar Olympic Committee