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Katanec, Sousa satisfied with draw

Amman: Srečko Katanec said it was a case of one point earned rather than two lost after Iraq played to a goalless draw with Bahrain in Group C of the Asian Qualifiers on Tuesday.

The point kept Iraq top of the standings on 11 points, two ahead of Bahrain and five in front of Islamic Republic of Iran going into 2020.

The Iraq head coach said it was, given the circumstances a good result as the West Asians ended 2019 unbeaten in the Asian Qualifiers, having defeated Iran 2-1 on Matchday Five.

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“I view it as a positive result as we are still at the top of the group,” said Katanec.

“We performed well and controlled play. Credit to Bahrain, however, as they managed to close the gaps.”

Katanec, 56, said his players were under pressure after having beaten Iran.

“The players were on a high after defeating Iran but there was also pressure. We tried to overcome that as much as we could so I feel the draw with Bahrain is a good result, given the circumstances.”

Bahrain counterpart Hélio Sousa was also content, describing the draw a “fair result”.

“We had a good performance in the first half but Iraq were the better side in the second period,” he said. “Iraq had good chances to score but we were saved by the woodwork and I think it is a fair result.”

Sousa said that Bahrain must get results in the remaining matches to advance to the third round of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifiers and seal an automatic berth in the AFC Asian Cup China 2023.

“We still have three matches and our aim is to win a ticket to the next round,” he concluded.

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