Sanchez hails ‘historic’ Qatar victory
Abu Dhabi: Head coach Felix Sanchez has labelled Qatar’s 1-0 win over Korea Republic in the quarter-finals of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 as an historic moment for both his players and the West Asian nation.
A stunning second-half strike from Abdelaziz Hatim saw the Qataris progress to their first-ever AFC Asian Cup semi-final and, in the process, rack up a fifth consecutive victory at the Continental showpiece event.
With host nation the United Arab Emirates set to come for Qatar in the last four, Sanchez, although mindful of the challenge that awaits his young charges, was quick to underline the significance of the result for a side who have become serious title contenders.
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“It was a big day for us, and we achieved something that is historic,” said the Spaniard.
“I want to congratulate the players as they have achieved something great for the country. One of the key things about this team is that, as a group, they are outstanding."
“They know the significance of winning games in this competition, so they celebrate every victory.
“Today we have taken another step forward, at this moment emotions are high, we will celebrate but we have an even more important game coming up and we need to be ready for that.”
While Qatar’s presence in the last four undoubtedly underlines the team’s quality, it also represents the realisation of a long-term goal to be on a par with Asia’s elite.
“I am the happiest coach in the world today, what the players have done is amazing for both us and the country,” said Sanchez.
“Even though we are taking it game by game, because that is the only way to do it, we came here determined to show that we can compete with the very best of Asia.
“At the moment my players have shown that they are able to compete, perform well and get positive results at an official competition which is the most important thing for a player.
“We are very proud of them and we now hope we can continue in the same manner.”
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