x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Gabriel Calderon is proud of Bahrain players but victory is vital

Bahrain football coach Gabriel Calderon has issued a rallying call to his players ahead of their game against Qatar and urged them not to let their supporters and country down.

Bahrain football coach Gabriel Calderon has issued a rallying call to his players just before they take the pitch with Qatar in the Gulf Cup action.
Bahrain football coach Gabriel Calderon has issued a rallying call to his players just before they take the pitch with Qatar in the Gulf Cup action.

Gabriel Calderon, the Bahrain coach, has issued a rallying call to his players ahead of their game against Qatar and urged them not to let their supporters and country down.

The hosts, who have never won the Gulf Cup, have one point from two games, and to reach the knockout stages of the tournament they need to beat Qatar and hope the UAE win against Oman as well.

"We are at a crossroads," Calderon said. "We either win or we bow out of the tournament. There are no other options. So the players need to show more focus, especially in front of goal, and get the win that we need. We need to use every opportunity we get.

"We did not deserve to lose against the UAE, but we missed too many chances and football does not recognise good performances. Only results matter and it is time for the players to get the result we need and make sure we don't let down our fans."

Bahrain opened their campaign with a scoreless draw against Oman and then lost their second match 2-1 to the UAE.

"The players were affected by psychological in the first game and then we were unlucky against the UAE," Calderon said. "Football is not always fair as we saw in the match between Oman and Qatar when Qatar scored from the two chances they got and claimed three points."

Qatar will be hoping for more good fortune in tonight's match against the hosts, but win or lose, Paulo Autuori has said he is proud of his players.

"Before I start talking about the game, I would like to give a message to my players," the Brazilian said. "Whether we win this game or not, I just want to let them know I am proud of them. I have enjoyed working with them. They have been real men and their families should also be proud of what they have achieved under this intense pressure from the media and fans."

The Qatari team have faced a lot of criticism for two unconvincing performance, but Autuori urged his players not to heed the "talk on the streets" and focus on giving another battling performance against Bahrain.

"This match is a difficult one for both teams and I hope my players can show the same enthusiasm and fighting spirit that they displayed against Oman. Yes, we are under pressure but I am confident in the abilities of my players to reach the semis."

arizvi@thenational.ae

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