Qatar's Spanish national team coach, Marques Lopez, downplayed the importance of the identity of the referee who will officiate their match against Iran in the Asian Cup semi-finals, as members of the Iranian national team expressed objection to the appointment of a Kuwaiti referee. Was. Officiate Wednesday's match.
Lopez's statement came in line with the Iranian coach's statements during a press conference held today, Tuesday, to talk about the match to be held at the Al Thumama Stadium.
“I only care about working with my team, and I dedicate my time to that, and I don't think about who's going to be the referee officiating the match,” he said.
During his press conference, the coach of the Iranian national team, Amir Qalaei Nooyi, indirectly criticized the organizing committee of the 2023 Asian Cup to be held in Qatar due to the appointment of Kuwaiti referee Ahmed Al-Ali to manage the match between Iran and Iran. Qatar said, “This is a technical issue that has nothing to do with us. I think it is something that should be done. It will be answered by the competent committees of the Asian Football Confederation.”
In turn, midfielder Saeed Ezzat Allah criticized the decision, saying, “The referee for tomorrow's match is a Kuwaiti referee, and we can ask how an Arab referee has been appointed to manage this clash. ?”
Saeed Ezzatollah, Iran player: I am surprised that an Arab referee was appointed to manage the match against Qatar#ComeAsia , #AsiaCup2023 #qatar2023 , #AsianCup2023 #Asia_Cup_Al-Kas_Channel #watch_cup pic.twitter.com/8kyAJRFc2R
– Al Kass Channel (@AlkassTVSports) 6 February 2024
Ahmed Al-Ali had performed well as a referee in the first tournament, as he officiated in 3 matches so far, bringing together Palestine and the Emirates, then the Sultanates of Oman and Kyrgyzstan, then Bahrain and Japan. Arab teams have not achieved a single victory in the matches played so far.
An Arab referee also officiated in two of the five matches played by the Iranian national team in the tournament, and in both of them, the Iranian national team won. The Iran–Palestine match was refereed by Qatari referee Abdul Rahman Al-Jassim, and the Iran–Hong Kong match was refereed by Syrian referee Hanna Hattab.
burgundy is ready
Regarding the anticipated clash, the Qatar national team coach said, “We will go into the confrontation with Iran with full focus, and we hope to present a great match.”
– Qatar Football Association (@QFA) 6 February 2024
“We have a lot of motivation in this match, because we will be one step away from qualifying for the final and making history,” López said of Al-Annabi's prospects in the match.
Regarding his plan against Iran, he explained, “The Iranian national team has a strong attacking line, and we will work to reduce its threat, especially since this match could be the toughest for us in the tournament. “
“The Iranian national team is strong and everyone realizes that. In the end, we did not underestimate any team we played against and we will go into this match with the same desire to win,” he said.
He concluded, “We will play a difficult and complex match. This is our sixth match in the tournament and it represents a physical burden on the players, but we will deliver a great match.”
Qatar national team, the defending champions, will be looking to defeat their Iranian counterpart in the Asian Cup final when they face them in the semi-finals tomorrow at the Al Thumama Stadium.
This is the third meeting between the two teams in a continental final, as Iran had won the previous two matches in the group stage, 2–0 in the 1988 edition and 1–0 in the 2015 Australian edition.