AFC – TABRIZ, Lebanon are hoping to bounce back strongly against 2019 AFC U-20 Futsal Championship hosts, Islamic Republic of Iran, in a do-or-die quarter-final match on Tuesday.
“I told my players that we need to take this challenge to bounce back,” said Lebanon head coach Tarek Rizk. “We will work on it. We have a chance to say that we are ready to play against strong contenders.”
Lebanon started their Group B campaign against Kyrgyz Republic, a match which they started on the back foot after conceding in the first minute, but Tarek Rizk’s side soldiered on to seal a 3-2 win.
Their next group opponents came in the form of heavyweights Thailand, and although Rizk blamed the 8-1 defeat on fatigue, he has identified the changes needed in his team for his boys to show their best against Iran.
“We were in the toughest group in the competition,” said Rizk.
“We faced two teams with two different styles of play. We faced Kyrgyz Republic, who were strong and Thailand were fast and efficient. We won the first tough game and then fell to Thailand due to lapses in concentration and we were physically tired as well.
“What we need to change for the upcoming game is our mentality, confidence and responsibility. To play a strongly against Iran, you need to have this combo. If you miss one of these elements, you risk losing against a strong team supported by fans.”
Iran produced some top quality form to win Group A as they saw off a resilient Hong Kong before turning on the power in the second half to beat Afghanistan 3-2.
Head coach Hamid Moghadam expressed his satisfaction following their victory over their Central Asian neighbours, saying his team is growing from strength to strength with each passing game.
“The victory we achieved against Afghanistan was very satisfying and enjoyable since they played very well,” said Moghadam.
“If we had lost the match, we would have a harder job to do now. I see my players performing well with each passing game and they’re finding their own way to play.
“But I believe my players haven’t reached their excellent form yet, and we’ll try to reach it. My players have this pressure to win the title once again, but I see my players performing better and better.”