Muscat: Oman, who began their campaign in the AFC U-16 Championship in India with an easy 3-0 victory over Malaysia, are hoping for an even better performance in their second Group C match against South Korea on Monday.
On the eve of the crucial match against the Koreans, Oman coach Yacoub Al Sabahi spoke about the need to improve fuhrer and their aim to build on their strong start to championship, according to news posted on the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) website.
Arshad Al Alawi and Yousuf Al Malki were both on the scoresheet as two-time winners Oman eased to a 3-0 victory over Malaysia in their opening tie at the continental competition to move to the top of the Group C standings.
But two-time champions Oman are likely to come up against much stronger opposition in the form of the 2014 runners-up, who will be desperate to bounce back from a disappointing 2-1 reversal to Iraq in their tournament opener.
“We need to continue to improve our level because our next opponents are very strong,” said Al Sabahi.
“It’s not easy because when we are talking about Korea Republic and Iraq, they are always among the best teams in Asia. I only saw 10-15 minutes of Korea’s game (against Iraq) but they are strong and a very good team.
“But I think we can do better (than the first match). We made some mistakes and we want to correct them during our preparation for the next game.”
Tournament heavyweights Korea Republic, meanwhile, took a first-half lead through Jeong Chan-Young against Iraq, but a pair of penalties either side of the interval from Muntadher Mohammed condemned the young Taeguk Warriors to a narrow defeat.
And already trailing their opponents, and Iraq, by three points, Seo Hyo-Won’s side will need to up their game if they are to maintain their chances of reaching the quarter-finals for the third successive time.
“We need to work on helping the players feel better on the pitch so they can feel confident and play the way they did in our preparation for the tournament,” said Seo.
“I don’t think we need to focus too much on the tactical side, but we want them not to be as nervous.”
Monday’s other Group C encounter pits 2014 quarterfinalists Malaysia against an Iraq team who showcased their early tournament credentials in their come-back victory over the Koreans.
“I think there will be more pressure and it will be more difficult for us to win the game,” said Malaysia coach Somasundram Periasamy.
“But we need to improve our game, play more positively when we’re in possession and make more forward passing.”
Iraq are appearing in their first AFC U-16 Championship since 2012, when they progressed all the way to the semifinals. A second successive win at the 2016 edition of the tournament will stand them in good stead for advancing to the knockout stages once more.
“We are now focused on the match against Malaysia and we want to try and win the group,” said coach Qahtan Chitheer. “Maybe this will be the decisive match.”