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Nov 26 - Dec 8, 2019
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Qatar to go all out for a win against Bangladesh

Asian champions seek positive result after setback against India in previous round.
Qatar Coach Felix Sanchez Has A Word With Boualem Khoukhi At A Training Session On The Eve Of Their Match Against Bangladesh In Dhaka
Qatar coach Felix Sanchez has a word with Boualem Khoukhi at a training session on the eve of their match against Bangladesh in Dhaka. Photo: Fadi Al Assad

Qatar will look to bounce back from an unexpected setback when they take on Bangladesh in a Group E game of the joint Asian Cup 2023/World Cup 2022 qualifying round in Dhaka on Thursday.

The Asian champions, who started with a 6-0 win against Afghanistan, were held to a goalless draw by a determined Indian team in Doha in their second match. Still, Felix Sanchez’s men are on top of the group with four points but would be keen to get that winning feeling again, at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.

Bangladesh, like India, are way below Qatar in rankings – 187 to the Asian champions’ 62 — but can be a sticky opposition at home. Coached by Englishman Jamie Day, they had a rough start, losing the opening match to Afghanistan and as such, Qatar can expect a defensive approach from the hosts.

Felix Sanchez At A Press Conference On The Eve Of Qatar’s Match Against Bangladesh In Dhaka
Felix Sanchez at a press conference on the eve of Qatar’s match against Bangladesh in Dhaka.IQ File Photo: Vinod Divakaran

“It’s an important match for us,” admitted Sanchez. “We have prepared well and this match will test all aspects of our preparation. We seek a positive result and will play to win. I hope the players do everything in their power to get the desired result,” he said.

The key for Qatar will be their attacking unit. In that context, the Maroons will keenly await the return of Akram Afif. His absence hurt Qatar in the game against India, with star striker Almoez Ali toiling without support. If Afif and Hassan al Haydos combine well to back Almoez, Qatar will have enough firepower to flatten Bangladesh.

Sanchez said all players were available for selection. “Everyone is ready to play. We’ll finalise the playing XI after the last training session. They are all ready to give 100 per cent,” he said.

Factors that could work against Sanchez are weariness and the weather. Eight of his players are from Al Sadd, who have been competing in the Qatar Stars League as well as the Asian Champions League. If they can overcome the stress factor, Qatar will surely benefit.

The weather factor could be a bigger worry, with rainy conditions prevailing in Dhaka. “I am wary of the rain but I have professional players who are able to play in any weather condition. We will do everything to get three points,” said Sanchez.

Kick-off will be at 4.00 pm Qatar Time.

In the other Group E game, Oman host Afghanistan.

Qatar Players At A Training Session On The Eve Of Their Match Against Bangladesh In Dhaka
Qatar players at a training session on the eve of their match against Bangladesh in Dhaka. Photo: Fadi Al Assad