Qatar seek to extend unbeaten run

 08 Oct 2015 - 0:59

Qatar seek to extend unbeaten run
Qatar’s coach Jose Daniel Carreno (right) listens to an official of Qatar Football Association on the eve of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against China at Al Sadd Stadium in Doha. The match kicks off today at 6.30pm. SALIM MATRAMKOT

By Armstrong Vas
Doha:  Hosts Qatar will aim to extend their perfect record in the Group C of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers when they take on China today at Al Sadd Stadium. 
Coach Jose Daniel Carreno side is at the top of the group with a 100 per cent record from their three games having drubbed Bhutan by a record score of 15-0 and also registered a 3-2 win over Hong Kong and earlier edged Maldives 1-0.
A win today will put the 2022 FIFA World Cup, who have not qualified for the Finals of any edition of the World Cup, five points ahead of China.
For the local side a win in familiar surroundings  will be much needed boost ahead of the tough qualifying matches.
“The first thing that we know is that this is going to be a very important match. Both teams have all the tools to needed to play a good match. Both teams know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and this will make for a keenly contested encounter,” said the Uruguayan. On his opposite number Alain Perrin, who spend a few years in Qatar coaching different clubs and Qatar youth teams Carreno said: “The Chinese head coach is a very known coach. He has good capabilities and is a very tactical coach. He has a lot of knowledge about Qatari football and also of the players. But he is not among the 11 players that are going to play the match. The result will be decided by the players and the circumstances of the match.”
“Winning tomorrow’s match is going to be a very important step for Qatar’s qualification for the 2018 World Cup. But this match is not going to be a decisive one at the end of the day. There will be three matches after this one. But having said that, we will do our best in the match. Our aim is to do everything we can to qualify,” he added.
Qatar and China are vying for the top spot in Group C, with the winners assured automatic progression to the next stage of qualification.
China sit second, also unbeaten, but have seven points from three games following a disappointing 0-0 draw with Hong Kong. 
Whoever comes second in the group, which also contains Maldives and Bhutan, may qualify as one of the four best losers from eight groups.
Twelve teams will progress to a final group stage, where four sides will ultimately qualify for Russia.
China arrive in Qatar with a clear score to settle, having suffered damaging losses to the same opponents in qualifying for Italy 1990, France 1998 and South Africa 2010. 
Having being held to a goalless draw at home by Hong Kong, Perrin is clear that they can’t afford any slip-ups against the Qatari section leaders. The visitors will look to experienced captain Zheng Zhi, while the home side are boosted by the return of veteran striker Sebastian Soria, who scored the winner in China during qualifying for South Africa 2010.
Perrin, who celebrated his 59th birthday yesterday said: “I think these are the two best teams in the group and we are playing for first position but second can also give us qualification.” “This is going to be a very important match but there are other remaining matches and we will need to do our best,” he added.
Meanwhile, Chinese striker Yu Dabao said  China must approach today’s match against Qatar with a positive mindset and forget about their poor World Cup qualifying record against the Gulf side.
China have won just once in seven FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Qatar - a 3-0 home win in the campaign to reach Asia’s first hosting of the tournament in 2002 - although can take solace in the fact that they have not lost in Doha, having played out 1-1 draws in the qualifiers for France 98 and Japan/Korea 2002 before a goalless stalemate on the road to South Africa 2010.

The Peninsula