Saudi Arabia, Oman set for key battle

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Saudi Arabian coach Hervé Renard is confident his team will secure a second successive win in the 24th Arabian Gulf Cup when they take on defending champions Oman in the last Group B match at the Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium today.

 
 

“We did not have enough time to prepare for the next game, but we have to be ready for this difficult group. Our fate depends on us,” Renard said on the eve of the match.

“They are the champions of the last version and are still the title holders and have a strong motivation to qualify. They played a tough game against Kuwait and won 2-0 and did well to win in the end and now top the group,” the Frenchman said.

“We do not fear any team, but we respect all teams. In the current situation, Oman is the top of our group and a draw is enough for them, and because of this, this task is not easy, and we have to play as we played against Bahrain. It is simple; we have to win,” he added.

Saudi has no choice but to win today’s match to qualify for the last four stage.

Renard’s side are with three points from two matches, the same as Kuwait, who take on Bahrain in day’s other match. Oman are leading the group with four points with one win and one draw. Bahrain are with one point from their draw against Oman.

Two teams from group qualify for the semi-finals.

“Only winning is the first choice. I lost in the first meeting against Kuwait, but we are back and we have won against Bahrain. I hope this will be repeated in the next game against Oman,” he said.

Meanwhile, Oman coach Erwin Koeman described Saudi Arabia as a tough opponent and said they are ready for the challenge, whom he described as one of the best in Asia.

“We have only one day to play and there is no special preparation for this game,” Koeman said.

The Dutchman said his team knew what was in store for them at the tournament.

“We knew that encounters like these await us since the moment we landed here and more importantly the players are ready in all respects.”

As for the morale of his players, he said: “We have high morale in all our games, and we are aware of the size of the ferocious competition in this group.”

Koeman said he will analyse the videos of the last match they played and also of Saudi Arabia and accordingly formulate a tactical plan for the match.

“We have made some changes in the basic lineup compared to the Kuwait game, and I will talk with the technical staff regarding the fitness of the players. I watched several videos of the Saudi team, and after studying them well, I will decide on my lineup or what way we will we play.”

“Maybe the Saudi team may impose a certain style on us. If the spaces allow us, we will play in our way. They are a team playing in spaces and they play with fun. We have to keep the ball and exchange passes,” Koeman said.

Source: www.thepeninsulaqatar.com

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