Dali: Focus can take Syria past Saudi Arabia
Bangkok: Alaa Aldin Dali has urged Syria to be fully focused in their final AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 Group B tie against Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.
Dali has been Syria’s super-sub in Thailand 2020, coming off the bench in their group opener against Qatar to help salvage a 2-2 draw, and was on target again when his incredible run from the half-line mark ended with him slotting past Japanese goalkeeper Keisuke Osako to ensure a 2-1 win on Sunday.
Their victory over the 2016 champions propelled Syria to the top of the group, and a win over Saudi Arabia will assure them a first appearance in the quarter-finals since the inaugural edition in 2013-14.
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“In the first match against Qatar, we were behind but we managed to come back and equalise to get the point,” said Tishreen forward Dali.
“Against Japan, we started with better concentration, and the players kept a disciplined formation."
“We wanted to play on the wings with long balls, using counter-attacks and we managed to score the second goal from a counter-attack.
"We can say that this is a historical win, as we secured the three points and have come very close to reaching the next round.
"There is no secret to the goals I’ve scored. These goals came as a result of my teammates' support, and when I went on as a substitute my teammates put their trust in me.”
The win over Japan means Syria’s hopes of playing in the Tokyo Olympics remain alive but Dali, 23, knows Saudi Arabia will be tough opponents.
"We entered this Championship with the intention of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
"The last match against Saudi Arabia will not be easy but if we remain focused, I am sure we can advance to the quarter-finals.”
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