Thu, 28 Oct, 2021
Melbourne: Coach Cosmin Olaroiu is well aware three-time winners Saudi Arabia have only one option at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium on Wednesday; to beat DPR Korea to keep their AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 qualification hopes alive in Group B. Click here for Olaroiu's flash interview
With Naif Hazazi’s missed second-half penalty proving costly in Brisbane on Saturday as Olaroiu’s side went on to concede inside the final 10 minutes, Saudi Arabia find themselves at the foot of the Group B table alongside DPR Korea.
And with defeat for either side potentially set to end their campaign as early pacesetters Uzbekistan and China meet in Brisbane, Olaroiu knows Saudi Arabia must at least avoid a fifth consecutive defeat in the competition having exited in the group stage in 2011 following a hat-trick of losses in Qatar.
“After the first game in the group we know what we need to do exactly, we have only one way and it is very important to win the game,” said Olaroiu, who admits he has only had just over ten training sessions with the side having replaced Juan Ramon Lopez Caro following November’s Gulf Cup final defeat.
“We have tried to motivate the players that they still have a chance. We have not lost anything now. We had the first game in our hands and had a chance to close the game and win and how we lost was unfortunate.
“If you look at the possession, the passing and the running against China, they are all on our side, but it was unfortunate we did not get the result. They need to believe and play better.”
Olaroiu, who is already without 2014 AFC Player of the Year Nassir Al Shamrani for the entire tournament due to injury, has hinted at changes but the Romanian would not be drawn into revealing details of his plans.
“I saw the two games against China in the qualifiers and both games were different and that is why with the changes we are going to make, we are going to make sure we try to get more power and score more goals. Every game has its own strategy and that is why we have to deal with the game in a different way,” added the former coach of Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal.
“We prepare both sides and it is important to see the game to have a judgment because we don’t play alone. We play also with an opponent and if they let us play. The stats were on our side more than China, and in each game we have to prepare all the sides to attack and defend.”
With Uzbekistan’s meeting with China not taking place until after the final whistle blows in Melbourne, neither Saudi Arabia nor DPR Korea can take any risks with their campaigns on the line.
“Korea is a team that is difficult to beat. In the last game they lost, but were very difficult to play and they play compact and defend well and try to play on the counterattack,” said Olaroiu.
“It depends on us and how we play and develop the game. It is in our hands. I hope we keep some motivation and determination from the last game and don’t miss the chances we create and also don’t lose hope.”