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Confident Qatar eye more victories after rousing start against Yemen at Gulf Cup

Qatar were imposing in their first match of the 2017 Gulf Cup of Nations football match against Yemen at the Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad Stadium in Kuwait City. (Photo: Getty Images)
by Rizwan Rehmat, Qatar Sports Press Committee.

KUWAIT CITY, December 25, 2017 - Qatar coach Felix Sanchez has said his team will go for all-out attack against Iraq and Bahrain in the remaining two preliminary round matches at the Gulf Cup.

Qatar, the defending champions, crushed Yemen 4-0 in their Gulf Cup opener on Saturday, lifting the mood in the Al Anabi camp.

"We got our target (on Saturday). Hopefully we will do the same in the next two matches (against Iraq and Bahrain)," Sanchez said after the resounding win at Kuwait Sports Club Stadium.

Sanchez said his players are in top physical condition but he still has to wait for the latest report before finalizing the squad for the clash against Iraq on Tuesday.

"First we need to evaluate the players. I have to see their physical condition. We will play a different team (against Iraq). We need to be in possession more and we know the next game will be different because the quality will be different too," he added.

"Our target is to be match-competitive and we did that (in the first match). That's the goal for our players, especially the youngsters," Sanchez said. "After this (tournament), we will continue in China and that's good for the players who are getting good match practice," he said.

Qatar fired three goals inside the first 18 minutes leaving Yemen - known for individual brilliance from their players - in a state of shock.

"It was a great start. (In) the first 18 minutes we scored three goals and kept on creating chances for more goals," Sanchez said.

"Our target was to start well to show we want to win the game. I think in the first 15 minutes we showed that. We will try to do that again but we know it will be difficult. Every game is different. So many things have to be taken into account before every game," he said.

Key Qatar defender Abdulkareem Hassan said the young players in the squad are getting 'good experience'.

"It is a good experience for all of us but for our young players, the Gulf Cup will be very useful for them," Hassan said. "Despite having a young side, we promise to make the maximum effort. These young players will go step-by-step to the end," Hassan said.

Midfielder Ismail Mohammed, who played a key role in his team's win on Saturday, said: "We arrived ready for this event despite the doubts that were hovering around the start (of the event). We have entered the championship strongly with this win. We will try to maintain the intensity and we aim defend our title we won three years ago."

He added: "In general, there is no easy game and we have to enter every match as a final. We can't be thinking about other competitors but we need to focus on our performances, our strengths."

Yemen's Ethiopian coach Abraham Mebratu wore a dejected look after the match on Saturday.

"The first big challenges for us is not to concede goals like this. We played much better in the second half. We still have two more matches to go. We have to learn from this match. We have to work on our weaknesses.

"We have to be ready. This match is a very good lesson. We have to bring the players up and get them ready for the remainder of the tournament," he explained.

"The Qatari players were better than us. They deserved to win. The important thing from this match is we have to play aggressively for the first 20 minutes. In the coming match, we have to see we don't make mistakes. We have to assess our performances really well," the Yemeni coach said.

Qatar take on Iraq in their next Group B clash on Tuesday. The same day Bahrain will face Yemen.

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