Cambodia's progress is Dalmas' concern
Doha: Cambodia head coach Felix Dalmas is more concerned about the continued development of his team rather than immediate results after the Southeast Asians safely negotiated their FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup 2023 Preliminary Joint Qualification tie against Pakistan on Tuesday.
Cambodia staged a come from behind win as they defeated Pakistan 2-1 in the second leg in Doha to advance 4-1 on aggregate.
Dalmas, while pleased that Cambodia will now take their place in the draw for the next round of the Asian Qualifiers, said they will be practical in their approach.
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"Our goal is to take one step at a time. I am more interested in the growing process. We want to keep going and we want to keep growing," the 31-year-old Argentinian said.
As Cambodia await to know their opponents, Dalmas can bask in the knowledge that his team can handle pressure, as they showed against Pakistan.
"They put us under pressure. We knew they would come hard at us but we were able to keep playing our game.
"They were very good opponents. They have some good players. But we tried to cancel their chances by keeping possession. We respect them very much and I am glad we won the match."
Pakistan coach Jose Antonio Nogueira was once again left ruing missed opportunities after his team crashed out in the very first phase of the Asian Qualifiers.
Nogueira had blamed his team's loss in the first leg on the inability of his players to convert their chances, urging them to get their act together in Tuesday's decider.
"We dominated the first half in which we got many chances," Brazilian Nogueira said. "We went up 1-0 and could have scored a few more but that wasn't to be. Also, the Cambodia goalkeeper (Keo Soksela) made some good saves."
Pakistan had gone ahead in the 18th minute through Hassan Bashir, who struck from the penalty spot after Ouk Sovann had handled the ball inside the box.
But after missing out on a few chances in the first half, the attack-minded Pakistanis were guilty of neglecting their defence, allowing Cambodia to claw back into the game when play resumed.
"In the second half, we made a mistake and conceded the equaliser. Nobody attacked them. They were free, free, free (inside the box)," said Nogueira as the lack of defensive initiative saw Sath Rosib restore parity in the 64th minute with substitute Reung Bunheing hitting the winner just before the final whistle.
However, he didn't take away anything from the Cambodians.
"They were very good. But it's also a fact that they had more time to train together. They got to play more friendly matches. We started only in May."
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