Preview - Group F: Oman v Turkmenistan
Abu Dhabi: It’s last chance saloon for both Oman and Turkmenistan as they prepare to face off at the Mohamed bin Zayed Stadium on Thursday in a last-ditched effort to secure their place in the Round of 16 of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.
Having both suffered defeat at the hands of Japan and Uzbekistan in their opening two matches, the two sides know a win in their final Group F encounter is needed if they are to have hope of progression to the knockout stage, a feat neither side has managed in their previous appearances at the AFC Asian Cup.
With such high stakes, both coaches – Pim Verbeek and Yazguly Hojageldyyew – were keeping their cards close to their chest when it came to team selection, not wanting to give their opposition any advantage heading into the match.
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“We have everyone fit except Mohsin (Al-Khaldi), so we have choices,” Verbeek said.
“I will wait for training today (Wednesday), but let’s say I know what I’m going to do. But in football you have to wait until the day of the match, people can get sick, people might get injured today at training.
“But we know what we’re going to do, but I’m so sorry you’re going to have to wait until tomorrow at 5:30pm to see what is our plan and strategy.”
While it is possible that, should results fall their way, a draw would be enough to see Oman through, Verbeek insisted his side would be targeting nothing less than all three points.
“We have to win the game tomorrow, there’s no other target for tomorrow’s game,” the veteran Dutch coach said.
“That doesn’t mean you go with complete risks and just try to score and score and score goals. It will be a tough game, a difficult game because Turkmenistan has the same target. They are still in the race also, they have to beat us.
“I think it will be a very interesting game for both teams. We will do everything to make Oman proud.”
Like his counterpart, Hojageldyyew was giving nothing away when it came to team selection.
“We still haven’t decided which 11 players we will use for the next game, but we have some options,” he said.
“We understand that the Oman team is a very good team, but there’s still a chance for both teams to qualify. We understand that the previous game was a bad result and we had some mistakes, but we already made some conclusions, we talked to the team and they are confident for the game.”
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