Courtesy: The AFC.comPreview - Matchday Three: Group DSunday, May 6, 2018
Bangkok: Both Uzbekistan and Islamic Republic of Iran have already secured their place in Wednesday’s quarter finals but, with finishing top of Group D potentially crucial, both sides will be aiming for a win on Matchday Three.ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN v UZBEKISTAN
Uzbekistan’s 3-1 win over Turkmenistan was cause for celebration for Avaz Maksumov’s side, as they secured safe passage to the knockout stage, but the head coach will surely rue the chaotic series of events that occurred in the final moments.
With goalkeeper Laylo Tilovova already having been shown a red card in the first half, replacement shot-stopper Maftna Jonimqulova was disastrously also given her marching orders for handling the ball outside the penalty area just two seconds before full time.
It means Uzbekistan must now face reigning champions Iran, who scored 14 goals in their first match, without their top two goalkeepers, and Maksumov conceded he may need to alter his approach.
“Of course against Iran it will very difficult for us, and not only because we are without the goalkeepers,” he said, adding “even with them it would be difficult, but we will try,”
“Maybe we will be focused only on defending and sometimes maybe a counter attack."
While reigning champions Iran showed they are a highly formidable side with their Matchday One thrashing of neighbouring Turkmenistan, head coach Sharhzah Mozafar said their fellow Central Asians would pose a different challenge.
“We think Uzbekistan is not an easy opponent, and we think Uzbekistan could be a surprising opponent,” she said.
“For us this is a serious game and the most important thing is that we fight for first place in the group. Uzbekistan will not be like Turkmenistan.”
Winning the group could indeed be crucial. If, as is widely expected, Japan can achieve a draw or better against China PR on Monday, Iran will need to top Group D to avoid setting a replay of the 2015 final.
Mozafar’s side will enter the match after a four-day break, and the head coach said there are always things to work on, even after a 14-0 win.
“If you win with a high score but you lack something you still have to improve on that,” she said.
“We will identify our weaknesses, work on them and improve.”
Courtesy: The AFC.comPreview - Matchday Three: Group CSunday, May 6, 2018
Bangkok: Japan and China PR will go to head to head for top spot in Group C, while Lebanon and Bahrain will look to end their respective campaigns on a positive note on Matchday Three at the AFC Women’s Futsal Championship on Monday. JAPAN v CHINA PR
China PR were tested at times by Bahrain on Matchday One, but delivered an excellent performance to defeat Lebanon 6-0 on Saturday, in a result that secured their appearance in the knockout stage.
They can now win Group C, and avoid a quarter-final against Islamic Republic of Iran, if they are able to surprise 2015 finalists and East Asian rivals Japan, but Chinese captain Wang Ting said she doesn’t mind who she plays.
“We don’t think too much about who our opponent will be, we think about our own team. We will always try our best but we focus on ourselves,” she said.
“We didn’t think we could get six goals (against Lebanon) but we did it, so I believe anything is possible and we will give our all.”
Wang captained China against Japan, then-coached by Masanori Ito, at last year’s Asian Indoor Games in Ashgabat and, while her side fell to a 5-2 defeat, she said she knows what to expect.
“We have the experience of playing against Japan last year in September,” she explained.
“Japan have been in international futsal for longer than our team. Our team was created last May, so they have better understanding of the game and they are very skilful.
“We have also trained in Japan, and we have also played against some of them in clubs, so we are quite familiar with them.”
The Chinese squad appears to be progressing well under 31-year-old head coach Hu Jie, who praised his players after the important win over Lebanon.
“I’ve been coach since last year, so I’m still learning about my players, but I would say that all of the players have been very impressive for me, especially (goalkeeper) Zhang Meini,” he said.
But Hu’s next task will be far from easy: Japan were dazzling against Bahrain, scoring eight second half goals to register a 13-0 win; their biggest ever at continental level.
Despite their near-perfect start to Thailand 2017, head coach Kenichirio Kogure warned there is improvement still to come from his side.
“I am satisfied with the results, but we have a long of young players who gradually playing more a part,” he said. “They will only improve game by game.”LEBANON v BAHRAIN
Both West Asian sides in Group B were eliminated by East Asian opposition on Saturday, but their final group stage match offers a chance to end Thailand 2018 on a positive note, and – for Lebanon coach Maroun El Khoury – another opportunity to continue his side’s futsal development
“I don’t know if (injured) Nancy Tchaylian and Jo-Anne Beaumier can play but we can do our best,” he said, adding “Bahrain play a football style, and we will try to play in a futsal style.
“We want to continue like we played against China, more of a futsal style in our offence, whereas against Japan all the balls forward were to the pivot.
“It’s really important to win against Bahrain. It’s important for me, the players and the federation that we beat Bahrain and finish third in the group.”
Bahrain head coach Elrashid Bukhari Ahmed backed his side to brush off the pain of a heavy defeat against Japan and produce their best for the match, to be held at the Huamark Indoor Stadium.
“Hopefully the girls will be ready and we’ll give it our all,” he said.
“It’s a bit of rivalry between us and Lebanon so I’m sure the girls will be up for it and do their very best.”
The last meeting between the sides in international competition was at the 2012 WAFF Championship, with current Bahrain squad member Deena Abdelrahman scoring six times in an 8-5 win.
Posted by Luca Ranocchiari