Shahad confident Iraq will get better, Australia's Arnold satisfied with point
Bangkok: Abdulghani Shahad believes his Iraq team will improve as they go further into the tournament after seeing his side kick of the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 on Wednesday with a 1-1 draw against Australia.
Mohamed Qasim scored with 13 minutes remaining to cancel out Reno Piscopo’s opener for the Olyroos as both teams picked up a point in their first Group A game at Thammasat Stadium.
Bangkok: Mohammed Qasim struck with a long range beauty to cancel out Reno Piscopo's equally stunning free-kick as Iraq and Australia settled for a 1-1 draw in their opening AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 Group A match at the Thammasat Stadium on Wednesday.
Qasim had only been on the field eight minutes before earning Abdulghani Shahad’s side a point having seen Piscopo give the Olyroos the lead with a high quality strike into the top corner of Ali Khadim’s goal.
Piscopo, who had been a threat throughout his 64 minutes on the field, put Australia ahead just two minutes before he was replaced by Zachary Duncan when he arrowed his free-kick from 25 yards beyond the outstretched hands of Khadim.
That goal was no less than the Australians deserved after dominating the second half until that point, with Iraq having offered little after an even first half.
Bangkok: Thailand made the ideal start to their AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 campaign on Wednesday as the host nation beat Bahrain 5-0 at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok to go top of Group A.
Two goals from Suphanat Mueanta provided the platform for success on a night when both the Buriram United ace and Thailand shone brightly from start to finish against a Bahrain outfit which, in truth, created few genuine opportunities.
The result leaves Akira Nishino’s charges two points clear at the summit following Iraq’s 1-1 draw with Australia earlier in the day and adds genuine momentum to their bid to reach the competition’s knockout phase for the first time in three attempts.
Bangkok: Felix Sanchez has stressed the Qatar side he has brought to the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 should not be compared to the squad he led to the semi-finals of the last edition two years ago as the clock ticks towards his team’s clash with Syria in their Group B opener on Thursday.
Qatar finished in third place at the 2018 AFC U23 Championship in China PR having missed out on a place at the Olympic Games two years earlier when they lost to Iraq in the third place play-off.
Bangkok: Saudi Arabia coach Saad Al Shehri has warned Japan’s automatic qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will make Hajime Moriyasu’s side an even more dangerous opponent when the two sides face off in their AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 Group B opener on Thursday.
The Japanese have already secured their spot at the Olympic Games in the summer as hosts, leaving coach Moriyasu to concentrate on guiding his team to a title the nation won when the tournament was played in Qatar in 2016.
Songkhla: Korea Republic are primed and ready to perform in their AFC U23 Championship Group C opener against China PR, according to head coach Kim Hak-bum.
Korea Republic have never missed the semi-finals of the competition and, having appeared in every Olympic Games football tournament since 1984, hold high hopes of delivering another strong performance in Thailand.
Songkhla: The time is right to end Islamic Republic of Iran’s four-decade absence from the Olympic Games, according to head coach Hamid Estili, ahead of his side’s opening AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 match against Uzbekistan on Thursday.
Not since 1976 has Iran been represented in the Olympic football tournament, but a new generation of talented youngsters are hopeful of ending the drought as one of the three Asian sides to join Japan at Tokyo 2020.
While Estili acknowledged Team Melli Omid’s struggles in years gone by at this age level, he believes the stars are aligning for his well-prepared squad, who will begin their campaign against the competition’s defending champions at Tinsulanon Stadium.