Published: 06 October 2010
Linzi: Uzbekistan coach Marat Kabaev will make changes for the 2008 runners-up final Group B game of the AFC U-19 Championship against Iraq at Linzi Stadium on Thursday but insisted his aim is still to take all three points.
The Central Asians have already sealed their place in the quarter finals having beaten DPR Korea 1-0 in their opening game of the tournament before seeing off Bahrain by the same score line on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Iraq have nothing but pride to play for having lost both their games so far to sit without a point at the bottom of the standings.
Kabaev made four changes to his side for the game against Bahrain and has promised to give more squad members a chance against Iraq.
“There will be changes,” the Uzbek coach confirmed.
“We will still consider this match seriously and we will be playing to win. We want to win every match and this will be our aim against Iraq.”
Iraq coach Hassan Ahmed was left to lament disruptive preparations as the reason behind his side’s disappointing performance in Zibo.
The Middle Eastern side had difficulty training regularly together due to the difficult situation in Iraq while injuries to a number of players compounded matters.
Iraq, though, had been one of the most impressive qualifiers for the tournament and it had looked like they would put behind them their troubles as they took the lead in their opening game against Bahrain of the AFC U-19 Championship through Al Sabah.
However, while looking good going forward they have looked weak defensively and Bahrain scored twice in the second half to secure victory.
Again defensive frailties proved their undoing as they succumbed to a 3-0 defeat to DPR Korea on Tuesday and they will be keen to at least end their tournament on a high with a victory over Uzbekistan.
But whatever the outcome on Thursday, Ahmed admitted it was always going to be difficult for his side due to their troubles in the run up to the tournament.
“We did not have enough time to prepare for the tournament because of the situation in Iraq,” he said.
“It was difficult for us to gather the team together for preparations and so we have struggled to perform as well as we would have liked here.”