Pim Verbeek says future is bright for Oman despite Iran defeat

It was not to be for Oman who lost 2-0 to Iran in the UAE. (AFP)
Updated 21 January 2019
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Pim Verbeek says future is bright for Oman despite Iran defeat

LONDON: Pim Verbeek revealed he is optimistic about the future of Oman football despite the side’s exit from the Asian Cup at the hands of Iran.
The Gulf Cup champions impressed in the group stage by making it through to the knockout stages — largely thanks to a 3-1 win over Turkmenistan that allowed them to sneak into the second round as one of the best-placed third-place teams.
But a 2-0 defeat to a very impressive Iran side ended any hopes Oman had of a fairytale run to the later stages in the UAE.
Verbeek, however, admitted they had been beaten by the better side and that despite the defeat the future remains bright for Oman.
“We knew that Iran were the number one side in Asia and that they were stronger than us, so we did everything that was possible to get a result,” the Dutch coach said.
“We gave at least one unlucky goal away and I am not talking about the penalty which we missed early on.
“In the second half, we tried everything to score a goal and come back from 2-0 down, but Iran kept us under control. We are disappointed of course that we lost, but Iran were the better team.
“We had a fantastic tournament and we should not be ashamed that we lost to a team such as Iran. The team has a future as, even though we are a small country, we have talent.”


Unai Emery wants Arsenal to treat Al-Nasr friendly as if it was a Premier League clash

Updated 40 sec ago
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Unai Emery wants Arsenal to treat Al-Nasr friendly as if it was a Premier League clash

LONDON: Unai Emery has told his Arsenal team to take today’s friendly against Al-Nasr seriously as they aim to grab a top-four spot in the Premier League.
The north London side are in Dubai for warm-weather training during the international break. They currently lie fourth in the Premier League and would qualify for the Champions League if they were to stay there. And Emery wants Mesut Oil and Co. to treat the Al-Nasr match as if it was a key clash in the battle for a European spot.
“For us it’s very important to continue being competitive in each match,” the Gunners boss said.
“It’s a friendly against Al-Nasr, but we can use different players and take more confidence and rhythm for the next matches that are coming. And the first of that is against Newcastle.
“If we were in London, then we would have been doing the same things that we are doing here.
“The main thing for us is to have the continuity going into this friendly match where all of our players get an opportunity (to play).
“We need to give the players a platform to remain confident and keep their rhythm heading into the remainder of the season.”
The players have been out and about in Dubai trying to get some relaxation in before the final straight of the season. They have been spotted on a bus tour of the emirate, visited the Dubai Frame and four players — Rob Holding, Danny Welbeck, Hector Bellerin and Petr Cech — visited a children’s hospital to dish out gifts.
Of the trip to Dubai Emery added: “The atmosphere is continuing like in London and we’re also enjoying a big city and the very kind people with us. They’re giving us all the good things to continue our work.
“We are happy to see our fans and happy with our work here with the big facilities.
”And in preparing also for the match on Tuesday with Al-Nasr and enjoying the city. We are also very happy with all the people who are giving us everything to make it easy to work and to stay here.”
The Gunners will face Benat San Jose’s Al-Nasr side to officially open Al-Maktoum Stadium — which was refurbished for the Asian Cup.
Emery will be without a number of first-team faces, with many currently on international duty. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mohammed Elneny just four of the names who will be missing.
The lack of many first-team regulars means Emery has a chance to look at some young players as he readies the squad for the last two months of the season. Of all the top-four hopefuls — the Gunners are battling it out with Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United — Arsenal’s run-in is the easiest. They no longer have to face any top-six side and, but they do have five away games out of their remaining nine matches.
Of the training in Dubai striker Alexandre Lacazette added: “It’s interesting for the club. We have to say thank you. For us, it’s a pleasure to play in this match.”