Midfielder Mohamed Waad said the focus of Asian champions Qatar has shifted towards facing Oman in the next match at the FIFA Arab Cup.
Qatar beat Bahrain 1-0 in their opening Group A match on Tuesday at the 16-team tournament currently being played across six new stadiums to be used during next year’s 2022 FIFA World Cup. Waad said he was delighted Qatar were able to end their eight-match winless streak dating back to July.
“We are happy with the victory we mustered at the beginning of our Arab Cup journey against Bahrain,” Waad said. “We played in front of a big crowd, and we were pleased that a large number of Qatari fans attended to support and cheer us on. This win was our gift for the fans who were present at the new World Cup Stadium,” he added.
“Winning is very important, especially from the moral side for the players. We must also remember that the opening matches at big events are always complex and characterized by caution from players of every side. But I am glad we succeeded in securing three precious points.”
He also praised the performance of his teammates in Tuesday’s encounter, saying that the players succeeded in coping with the opponent’s style and presented a notable performance throughout the two halves of the match.
“The most important thing for us was our return to winning ways once again,” he said.
The Al Sadd midfielder said that the Bahrain match has become a thing of the past as his teammates will now be focusing on the next match against Oman. “This match will be like a derby with a regional twist, especially since we have played with them before many times in recent times,” Waad said. “Our matches against them always see great rivalry and excitement. It will be a great game of football,” he stated.
Meanwhile, defensive midfielder Karim Boudiaf echoed Waad’s sentiments when he said: “We are preparing for the important match of the Omani national team, because winning it will guarantee us qualification for the next round of the group.
The Bahrain match has become forgotten and the focus is on the second match. We are happy with the victory in the opening match, which is usually difficult and special, but the team was able to achieve victory and get three points. The players have performed well overall.”
With Qatar edging out Oman in their previous two encounters, Boudiaf felt today’s match too will be a close one.
“I think that our confrontations with Oman have become an open book due to the many matches that we have played recently, especially at the level of the Asian qualifiers. Both teams know each other well, and I think it will be a close match,” he added.
Qatar’s young midfielder said the opening match against Bahrain as a tricky one for the hosts. “The first game was not easy, but we managed to thankfully accomplish the task and get three points. We had several chances, but we were unable to score more than one goal,” he said. “We thank the huge fans who supported the team. We promise them that we will give our 100 percent in the coming matches.”
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