Asian Cup – We can play better, says Uzbek coach | Pakistan Today

Asian Cup – We can play better, says Uzbek coach

DOHA – Pundits in Uzbekistan have rated Vadim Abramov’s team as the country’s best in a decade and their victory against hosts Qatar in their Asian Cup opener underlined those credentials.
Goals from Odil Akhmedov and evergreen captain Server Djeparov handed the Uzbeks a well-deserved 2-0 victory on Friday evening and Abramov believes better is still to come. “Our midfield in particular played very well but I hope this is not the best we can show. I think we can play better,” he said in a warning to fellow Group A rivals China and Kuwait.
Meanwhile, Jordan coach Adnan Hamad believes his underdog side can fight squarely against three-time champions Japan in their Asian Cup opener on Sunday, as in their previous encounter. “We will play in realistic ways, keeping in mind that Japan are one of the best teams in Asia,” added Hamad, who was named the 2004 Asian coach of the year after guiding Iraq to a fourth place finish at the Athens Olympics.
“We are very well prepared for this match. A draw will be satisfactory for us. But, of course, it doesn’t mean we’ll play under pressure. Three-time Asian Cup winners Saudi Arabia desperately need a winning start in Group B on Sunday against Syria to convince the doubters they have what it takes to banish the pain of four years ago.
Portuguese coach Jose Peseiro is under huge pressure back home to deliver after he clung on to his job despite failing to steer the Saudis to the World Cup in South Africa. “I accept the pressure but ask you don’t put pressure on my players,” Peseiro said at a pre-match press conference where Saudi Arabian media peppered him with questions about his future and tactics.
“Don’t put pressure on them because they need to play,” he said.
On the other hand, tough-tackling Australian captain Lucas Neill on Saturday vowed his side would take nothing for granted against minnows India, as the Socceroos plot the best possible start to their Asian Cup campaign.
“India will be a little bit of a surprise package but we’ll be concentrating on ourselves and we hope that we can break through early,” said Neill, 32, told reporters.

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