Bahrain coach Miroslav Soukup praised his players for their spirited performance despite going down against South Korea in the Asian Cup round of 16 yesterday.
Soukup said the players earned a lot of experience from their participation in the tournament. “I am very proud of my players’ performance in today’s game. We faced one of the favourites for the title, and most of their players are part of various top European leagues. Our players are young and need more experience to be able to compete in such big tournaments,” said Soukup at a press conference.
He added that Bahrain will perform even better in the upcoming tournaments.
In yesterday’s second last-16 match, Qatar beat Iraq 1-0 in a full-blooded contest to reach the quarter-finals.
Bassam Alrawi struck in the 62nd minute when he curled in a free-kick to take the Qataris into the last eight for a third time.
It was Qatar’s fourth win in four games this tournament after topping their group.
Iraq, shock Asian Cup winners in 2007 and semi-finalists four years ago, carried very little attacking threat until Atalanta’s Ali Adnan fizzed a free-kick just wide 12 minutes from time.
Seemingly more interested in snarling at the referee every time a decision went against them, Iraq ultimately paid for their lack of ambition.
At the final whistle, their players slumped to the turf, several sobbing uncontrollably.
Qatar enjoyed the best of the early skirmishes, Abdelkarim Hassan volleying against the bar before Hatim Abdelaziz missed a sitter on the stroke of half-time.
Forward Almoez Ali, who needs one more goal to equal Ali Daei’s record of eight in a single Asian Cup, had a quiet night, but kept his powder dry for Friday’s quarter-final.