Doha, 9 December 2021 - Asian champions Qatar were brimming with confidence as they hit the training pitch yesterday, ahead of their quarter-final of the FIFA Arab Cup against the United Arab Emirates.
Al Annabi, who topped Group A with three consecutive victories, held a training session at the Aspire Zone Training Facilities under lights to prepare for the clash to be played at the Al Bayt Stadium, tomorrow.
The Asian champions are one of the only two teams, which maintained perfect record in the group stage of the 16-team tournament. Morocco also won Group C after winning all their matches.
In the quarter-final tomorrow, Qatar are expected to be boosted by the return of defender Pedro Miguel, who missed last group match against Iraq after suffering from an injury during the clash against Oman. The team management is also hopeful about the availability of Muhammad Muntari, who suffered from an ankle sprain against Iraq.
Qatar’s Boualem Khoukhi said finishing the group stage with a hundred percent record has given the team huge confidence ahead of the quarter-final.
“The three straight victories in the first stage have motivated us more,” said Khoukhi.
“The team is confident and ready for the challenge against the UAE. We are looking forward to give our best and reach the semi-finals,” he added.
The Al Sadd star, however, predicted a tough fight from the UAE, who lost to Al Annabi in the 2019 Asian Cup semi-final.
“It will be a different match. The knockout stage is always tough as teams give their best effort to win so it’s going to be a difficult match and we are hoping to come out of it as winners.”
Qatar, who have already played two games of the tournament at the Al Bayt Stadium, have received massive support from home fans at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 venue, and Khoukhi hoped for the same in tomorrow’s clash.
“I want to thank fans for their support, which is one of the reasons of our good performance in the tournament. Their support is giving us energy and motivation to achieve wins. We are hoping for an increased number of spectators in the quarter-final,” he said.
UAE, who finished Group B on six points, held their training session at the Al Egla Training Site 1. Egypt, Algeria coaches hail ‘great’ game
Meanwhile, Egypt coach Carlos Queiroz hailed his team which fought back to earn a 1-1 draw against Algeria in a thrilling Group D showdown on Tuesday night.
Mohamed Tougai took Algeria ahead in the 19th minute before Amr El Sulaya scored an equaliser for Egypt with a 60th minute penalty.
Both the teams created an electric atmosphere during the match dubbed an “early final” at the Al Janoub Stadium.
Egypt, who had to make two early substitutions after injuries to Ayman Ashraf and Ahmed Hegazi, were under pressure in the first half before they made a turnaround to top the group on fair play.
Queiroz expressed his satisfaction on the outcome of the thrilling match.
“I want to congratulate both Egyptian and Algerian players for the great game, they deserve the praise of football fans,” Queiroz said.
“Our team lost important players due to injuries and it was very difficult to come back. But my players did it and they deserve the praise,” he added.
Egypt will meet Jordan in the quarter-final on Saturday and the coach said they will take the match as final.
“Jordan game will be difficult, it’s not an easy game. Our winning chances will be 5
“In a tournament like this, you always want to play against strong teams like we played against Egypt. We will now focus on recovery in order to prepare for the derby against Morocco in the quarter-finals,” said Bougherra.