x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Metsu happy to settle for draw

There was pandemonium at the post-match conference following the goalless draw between Qatar and Saudi Arabia on Monday.

Qatar's Bilal Mohammed, left, vies with Saudi's Nasir Ali Shamrani during their Gulf Cup match in Muscat.
Qatar's Bilal Mohammed, left, vies with Saudi's Nasir Ali Shamrani during their Gulf Cup match in Muscat.

MUSCAT // There was pandemonium at the post-match conference following the goalless draw between Qatar and Saudi Arabia on Monday. The Saudi media were annoyed by a no-show from the coach Nasser al Johar. And in the middle of the heated debate with his assistant, the Brazilian Minaka - who showed up instead - the Qatar coach Bruno Metsu stormed out, visibly irritated.

Al Johar has been avoiding the media and has been rapped with fines by the Asian Football Confederation in the past. But he continues to not show up, which Minaka said was because of an agreement the head coach had reached with the organising committee before the start of the competition. In between all that confusion, however, Metsu said the outcome of the match was not a poor one for either team.

"This was the first match and a pressure game. I think both teams played high class and entertaining football," he said. "I am not disappointed having to share a point with Saudi Arabia. "This group is wide open and I don't think any team can be guaranteed a place for the next stage without six points." The Frenchman - who led the UAE to their first ever Gulf Cup and is hoping to become the first coach to lead two different teams for back-to-back titles - said every game provides each team with the opportunity to win.

"A team can play well on one night and fair badly in the next. And every game is different and there are no weak teams and strong teams as such. "For me, the first match wasn't only about the result but how well we played. And I think we played well against a strong team. We created many scoring chances for the first time in a long time. That is a positive we can take from this game." The shaggy-haired coach will be hoping his current crop take those positives when they get ready to face his former players - the UAE.

Metsu, though, said his side did not have advantage just because he worked with the Emiratis. "They know me like I know them. And I don't think that is going to work as an advantage for either of us. The tactics and approach can always change. The UAE had a good first match and they are still a strong team." apassela@thenational.ae