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Saudi Arabia U23 coach wants to see fight in AFC Iraq clash

Saudi Arabia coach Daniel Teglia wants to see the same fight and determination shown against Jordan in the Iraq game on Saturday. (Courtesy of
LONDON: Saudi Arabia coach Daniel Teglia has told his players to replicate the grit and determination they showed against Jordan and victory will be theirs when they face Iraq on Saturday.
The U-23 side fought back from two goals down in their first Group C game of the AFC Championship to snatch a 2-2 draw, thanks to a brace of goals in the dying minutes of the clash.
And Teglia is confident that the young Green Falcons can ensure victory against Iraq in China if they show the same spirit as they did on Wednesday.
“Our group is a tough group,” he said. “The teams work well, they have an outstanding collective and physically they are so strong.
“We will try to play football our way, to maintain the ball on the ground and to infiltrate the space. I saw Iraq’s game against Malaysia and they’re a strong team and only the team who will impose his playing style on the game will win.
“As always in the first match, it leaves a stamp of identity on the tournament and we showed that the Saudi team have great heart and identity, that we’ll never surrender and play with a lot of personality.”
Saudi Arabia take on an Iraqi side that started the campaign with a comfortable 4-1 win over Malaysia. The Iraqis go into the clash as slight favorites. But despite their emphatic victory on Wednesday coach Abdulghani Shahad is taking nothing for granted.
“In each match we will play our own system and the important thing is that we have three points and we have some players in this system who have grown together,” he said. “In general, we achieved the most important thing from the first game and now we are going to work out our tactics for the game against Saudi Arabia.
“We are thinking step-by-step and this group is not easy. It’s difficult and it’s open for all the teams.”
Meanwhile, the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) has decided to increase the number of foreign players in the Saudi Professional League to seven per team and up the number of players on the bench to nine. 
The new ruling allows for each Saudi club to field six foreign players in their starting line-up and one foreigner on the subs bench. 
Due to the change in the rules the SAFF also announced the postponement of the 18th round of the league starting from Mar. 5 to Mar. 17 to allow for clubs to register new foreign professionals.