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Gulf Cup 24 – Saudi Arabia Vs Qatar – Preview

Mitch Freeley

Qatar takes on Saudi Arabia for a place in the Gulf Cup final on Thursday evening, looking to win a third Gulf title on home soil. Ahead of the contest coach Felix Sanchez he expected a stern test for the Asian Champions, stressing that his side cannot make mistakes against their local rivals. 

“At this point in the competition, you cannot make mistakes, we are playing against a strong team, we will try to play our game, we have our strengths and we will do our best to get a strong result. At this point, every game is a final if you lose you will be out so we have to be at our best.”

Sanchez also reported that he has no fresh injury concerns heading into the semi-final and revealed that his side is fully committed to reaching the final on home soil. 

“The most important is to have the payers fit for the game, which will be fine. The next game is a difficult one, the quality of the opponent we are confident in the qualities of the players and their commitment for this game. 

“All the other players are okay and eligible and ready to play. In terms of tactics, we will play respecting in our way, we will try our best organization.”

The Maroons produced an impressive performance to dispatch with the UAE to reach the knockout rounds, and Sanchez was quick to stress that the outpouring of emotion from his side after the game was important for the squad. 

“In terms of the emotions the last game it was a very important game, win qualify they know the importance and know that they didn’t want to fail in front of our home crowd in Qatar, I think we celebrated in a fair way, respecting everyone. It’s difficult to win every game, but we need to value the effort the players they put in.”

Looking forward to the contest, Sanchez added that his side will stick to their playing style and hope to emulate their attacking game on Thursday evening. 

“We are going to play not in a Spanish school but in a Qatar way, we will try our best to win the game and represent Qatar in the best way.”

 

As for Saudi Arabia, a 3-1 victory over Oman sealed their passage to the final four. Green Falcons coach Herve Renard was under no illusion of the threat posed by Qatar, adding that he has been preparing his players for the game against the Asian champions. 

”We always have a special conversation with the players before the games, when you are the coach you think about your team and your opponent. We are playing the champions of Asia but they also have to respect Saudi Arabia, it will be difficult for us but we have prepared well.”

Renard, who has previously won the African Cup of Nations with Zambia and Ivory Coast was eager to point out that despite winning against the UAE, Qatar does have weaknesses that his side plan to exploit. 

“Qatar is scoring a lot of goals in the offensive part they are good, in the transition. They are efficient in front of goal, they have weakness like all the teams.”

“We are here to prepare the game well we will show all the players were we can put our opponents in a difficult situation. It’s a competition so we will see tomorrow evening if our plan and strategy comes off and I hope we can beat Qatar tomorrow.”
 

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