Syria looking for second win

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Syria looking for second win

Post by BLACK on Thu Jan 13, 2011 1:10 am

DOHA: Syria is quickly becoming the darling of the Asian Cup, and the team can add to that status with a victory over Japan on Thursday.

Not much was expected of the 110th-ranked Syrians coming into the 16-team tournament, but then they stunned Saudi Arabia 2-1 - its first victory over the Saudis - and now expectations are growing.

Another win in Group B would send Syria into the quarterfinals of the competition for the first time in its history. But coach Tita Valeriu called on his players not to be distracted by the win over Saudi Arabia and focus on Japan, which needs a win after a disappointing draw with Jordan.

"This is a very difficult match we are playing tomorrow.

We respect very much the Japanese team and we must prepare for them and forget about Saudi Arabia," said Valeriu, a Romanian who only took over the team four weeks ago. "The most important thing for us is prove to the world that the good result we had with Saudi Arabia did not come by chance." Midfielder Abdukarazak Al-Hussein, who scored twice against the Saudis, said he expected a tougher match against the Japanese but that the Saudi victory had given the players a sense that now anything was possible.

"Our match with Saudi Arabia was tough and difficult and thanks be to God we won," Al-Hussein said. "Japan is stronger and more difficult and with the help of God we are determined to get a good result and be able to score goal.

I hope the result will be positive to prove to the world that Syria is capable of good football." Syria has never beaten Japan. But Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni admits he will not be taking anything for granted, especially after his team struggled to get past the Jordanian defense in its 1-1 tie. It was almost beaten by the weaker Jordanians but scored an injury-time goal to secure the tie.

"It will be a very tough match. Syria won against Saudi Arabia and they have well organized team and high motivation," Zaccheroni said. "So mentally, they prepared well and it will be a difficult. We need to improve the physical conditioning from the last match." Makoto Hasebe, a midfielder who currently plays in Germany, said Japan was well aware that Syria would come into the match with greater confidence.

"Obviously, Syria has momentum because they won," Hasebe said. "We need to fight against them but need to come down as well from the last match. We didn't break down Jordan's defense enough and we have worked on that in practice."
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