11 Jan 2018 - 0:00
Afif highlights importance of win against Uzbekistan
CHANGZHOU: Qatar’s star midfielder Akram Afif (pictured) yesterday said his team notched up an ‘important’ win against Uzbekistan on Tuesday when Al Anabi returned with a 1-0 victory on day one of the AFC U-23 Asian Cup.
Qatar, coached by Felix Sanchez, will now play Oman on January 12 in their second Group A match followed by a clash against hosts China on January 15.
The 16-team continental tournament kicked off on Tuesday with China beating Oman 3-0.
“Thank God we picked up three points from this game,” Afif said when asked to comment on the match. “We got good support from our fans but the main thing we got together as a team and played really well,” he added.
“There was very good team spirit. We did not limit ourselves in any way. First we blocked their moves and then when we got the opportunity, we scored the goal and retained our lead,” he said.
Feared striker Almoez Ali pounced on a Hashim Ali’s cross to score the only goal of the match in the 55th minute at the Changzhou Sports Centre.
“We played our best football in the second half. We had better control and the goal by Ali was great. They were keen to win and so were we. That made quality football,” he said.
“The most important thing in the game was to pick up the full points and I think the next games will be more difficult. Hopefully we will continue to fight for points,” he said.
“We are done with Uzbekistan match and now we are looking towards the Oman match,” Afif said.
The star midfielder was part of the Qatar squad that won the 2014 AFC U-19 Championship in Myanmar. Afif also featured in the 2016 edition of the AF U-23 Asian Cup held in Qatar. Both those teams were coached by Sanchez