March 2, 2024
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TT – TEHRAN,  Saeid Ezzatolahi believes concentration will be key when Iran face defending champions Qatar in their AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 semi-final at the Al Thumama Stadium on Wednesday.

Iran will go into the tie having won their last six matches against Qatar, including a 1-0 victory in the group stage of the 2015 edition of the continental showpiece, the-afc.com wrote.

“It is crucial that we shift our focus from our 2-1 win against Japan,” said the 27-year-old Ezzatolahi, who plays his club football with Danish side Vejle Boldklub. “We will need full concentration for tomorrow’s encounter against Qatar.

“We have a good record against the Qatari team and this can help us psychologically when we face them.

“Dwelling on the Japan game could lead to trouble. We have conducted training sessions, identified mistakes from the Japan match, and are determined not to repeat them. I believe we are fully concentrated and prepared for the challenge against Qatar.”

Iran will be featuring in their eighth AFC Asian Cup semi-final and Ezzatolah said the desire to win their first title in 48 years burns bright for the Central Asian side.

“Given the tight schedule, especially during the knockout stages, the players are under pressure as most have come off busy club commitments. However, the staff has done an excellent job in ensuring our recovery.”

“We have reached this stage after hard work and I know we are on the right track. The whole team has put in so much effort and we are here now to deliver.

“Our objective is clear and that is to defeat Qatar and advance to the final. The head coach (Amir Ghalenoei) has emphasized the importance of staying focused.”