January 12 – Qatar coach Felix Sanchez has emphasised his team’s style will not be altered when they play DPR Korea in their Group E clash. The Qatari will seek three points and qualification after Saudi Arabia gained top spot with a 2-0 win over Lebanon on Saturday.
The Qataris won their opening game against Lebanon 2-0, but the scoreline didn’t reflect their dominance and control as they failed to score big. Saudi Arabia put four past the North Koreans and the number of goals may determine group E’s winner when the two Arab teams face each other in a highly anticipated clash next Thursday in Abu Dhabi.
“Each match is different and we cannot renounce the way we play,” said Sanchez. “It’s difficult to change now, but we need to find solutions to be more close to the opposition’s goal. But in front you always have an opponent and Lebanon showed they’re a well organised team and they were very physical. This was the first game and it’s never easy to do the right thing all the time in the first game. But the team showed they were patient enough and, hopefully, in the next game we will perform better and do something that we couldn’t do in the last game.”
The North Koreans will be without suspended striker Han Kwang-song after his sending off against Saudi Arabia, but coach Kim Yong-jun believes his team have what it takes to compensate for his absence and put up a fight against Qatar.
“I can say that without him there will be some effect but I don’t think it will be too big because we have some good players like our captain, Jong Il-gwan, and Pak Kwang Ryong, who plays in Austria, so I don’t think there will be a big effect for the second match,” said Kim.
“Our primary target in this tournament is to qualify for the next round, so for the last three days we have focused in training on the mistakes we made in the first game. We’ve been training for three days and we’re ready for the game.”
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1709055333labto1709055333ofdlr1709055333owedi1709055333sni@o1709055333fni1709055333