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 AFC.com)
Updated 12 January 2018
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Saudi Arabia U23 coach wants to see fight in AFC Iraq clash

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.”
RULE CHANGE
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.


Ahmed Barman out to toast Al-Ain success in FIFA Club World Cup

Updated 11 December 2018
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Ahmed Barman out to toast Al-Ain success in FIFA Club World Cup

  • Tournament gets under way on Wednesday when Al-Ain take on Team Wellington at home.
  • UAE midfielder sure his side can cause a few shocks.

LONDON: While he is only too aware of the quality opposition they have to face, Al-Ain midfielder Ahmed Barman is backing “The Boss” to scare a few teams in the FIFA Club World Cup.
The tournament gets under way when the UAE outfit face Team Wellington on their home ground in the opener today. Last year saw fellow Arabian Gulf League side Al-Jazira reach the semifinal where they gave Real Madrid a huge fright before narrowly losing 2-1. And inspired by that march to the last four, Barman is looking for Al-Ain to go one better and become the first Emirati side to make the final.
“The FIFA Club World Cup is a global competition coveted by every club,” Barman said. “Al-Ahli, Al-Jazira and Al-Wahda participated in this tournament before and did their part, putting the UAE on the world map. We at Al-Ain hope to reach the semi-final, as Al-Jazira did, or do even better.”
Before any tournament it is only natural to dream of glory and lifting the trophy in front of adoring fans. But the midfielder is not getting too cocky, revealing that despite having home advantage Al-Ain are taking absolutely nothing for granted, starting with Wednesday’s clash against the Kiwis.
“There’s no doubt that we’re aiming to reach the final and face a giant like Real Madrid, but first we have to focus on our opening match against Team Wellington,” the 24-year-old said.
“We need to win to progress from this round and play the subsequent games until we reach the final against Real Madrid and show a standard of play the UAE can be proud of.”
Barman is not anticipating an easy opener.
“Team Wellington are a very good team with considerable ability. They won their local league and the OFC Champions League, which proves they’re powerful.
“So, all our focus is on this opening match. We’re annualizing our opponents to understand their capabilities as we prepare to perform well on the pitch and get positive result.”
The UAE champions did not have the best preparation for their stab at Club World Cup glory, losing 5-2 to Al-Wasl in the UAE President’s Cup at the weekend.
That result, while clearly not ideal, has not bothered the side’s coach.
“We cannot win every game, what is gone is gone, it’s full concentration on the match ahead,” Zoran Mamic said.
“There are no rules that Al-Ain cannot lose games, that’s why I don’t make any drama.”
But while Barman was keen to invoke the memory of Al-Jazira’s march to the last four, his boss was less so, telling his team to focus on the match at hand before getting ahead of themselves.
“We are not here to talk about last year, just as we are not here to talk about the future,” the Croatian said. “We are here to represent the club in the best possible way. We focus on the match at hand and everything will take care of itself.”
Of today’s opponents he added: “We have watched all their games, we know their strengths and where they are not so strong. They are particularly good offensively, they play with fast wingers and a striker who is a good scorer, they play a system that is unusual to us because no teams in the Emirates play with three in the last line. If we do our job we will (have) a good match.”