Saudi a must win game says Baan
Qantas Under 23’s coach Rob Baan is under no illusions, if his team is to qualify for the final phase of qualifying for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, then Wednesday’s nights match against Saudi Arabia at Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide, is a must win game.
Qantas Under 23-s coach Rob Baan is under no illusions, if his team is to qualify for the final phase of qualifying for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, then Wednesday-s nights match against Saudi Arabia at Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide, is a must win game.
The Under 23-s have drawn their opening two games, but let slip a golden opportunity against Jordan two weeks ago, when they conceded a late equaliser, albeit to a brilliant strike from 30 metres out. Those results has them sitting in second spot, but only a point clear of both Iran and Jordan in what is proving the toughest and closest group of the Second Qualifying Round.
Sitting four points behind Saudi Arabia, who have so far won their opening two matches, with 1-0 results over Jordan and Iran, Baan knows a win here, could prove decisive in who finishes in the top two and progresses to the third stage of qualifying.
“Yes, I think it is a must win game,” Baan said from Adelaide. “Because of the last game against Jordan, which we could not win, we must win this one.”
A win though will not be easy, although Baan at least for the first time is thankful that he has been able to pick a full strength squad for the first time. Birmingham City-s Neil Kilkenny, Hereford-s Trent McClenahan and Brondby-s David Williams all available for this game, as is Mark Milligan, who was ruled out before the Jordan game, with injury, while Ruben Zadkovich (injury) and Dario Vidosic (trial) are also available.
“Two wins in a row means they (Saudi Arabia) are favourites (to win the group). What I have heard and seen on DVD, they are a very good team.
“However, for the first time we have a whole squad of 22 players,” Baan said with some relief in his voice. “It has also been nice to have a full compliment of players on the pitch now, we have more options at practice.”
And it-s this greater depth that Baan believes his side can take advantage of in the game, especially in an attacking sense.
“That is where I feel much more comfortable. When I look at my side and players now, I know that I can change the game.”
One area he feels they will need to improve is the finishing, after wasting some good opportunities against Jordan to seal a comfortable victory and then conceding the late equaliser.
“I have said that to them already, we had chances and didn-t finish and that is what we lacked. With the extra trainings sessions, we have worked on our attack a lot more and I feel we have some good set-ups and hopefully that will work.”
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