Qatar coach Fahad Thani is confident that his team will not only qualify for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup but will do so as winners of Group D.
With the top two teams advancing to Australia, the Qataris know that a draw with Malaysia at the Shah Alam Stadium on Tuesday will be enough to send them through to the finals for the ninth time in 10 attempts.
However, Thani has set his sights higher and wants his players to go for a win that would keep them in touch with group leaders Bahrain before their showdown in Doha in the final round of qualifying matches next March.
"I believe my players have quality and they will be able to deal with any unexpected situations that may occur. We have come here with high confidence, not only to beat Malaysia but also to top our group,” said Thani who led Qatar to a 2-0 win over Malaysia in their group opener in February.
"We know that Malaysia have a good style of play and I do not expect them to play as cautiously as they did against Bahrain last week because they also want to progress.
“But we have travelled to Malaysia to give our best performance and we have no problems with injuries.”
A narrow 1-0 defeat in Bahrain last Friday saw Malaysia drop five points behind Qatar with only two games left. K.Rajagobal’s side must now win Tuesday’s game as well as their final group match against Yemen to keep alive their hopes of reaching the finals.
"We intend to go into the game with a bold attitude,” said the Malaysia coach.
“The qualification competition has not yet ended and we still have two games left to complete our mission. In football, nothing is impossible so it is important for us to keep our focus and to do our best.”
While there will be plenty at stake in Shah Alam, there will be a lot less pressure on Bahrain when they host Yemen at the National Stadium in Manama, knowing that they have already sealed a spot in Australia. -AFC-