New Delhi: After today`s 4-0 mauling of Sri
Lanka, Syria now require only a draw from their remaining two
encounters to qualify for the final, but coach Fajer Ebrahim
was not ready to take Lebanon lightly on Thursday.
"Lebanon lost to Sri Lanka and we beat Sri Lanka today.
But in football it is not necessary that we will beat Lebanon
(on Thursday). We can`t take them lightly," Ebrahim said after
the match here.
Ebrahim expressed satisfaction about his players` rhythm
even while fasting due to the holy month of Ramadan, which
began on Saturday.
"All our players are fasting but they played so well
today. They are playing an international tournament for the
first time during Ramadan under my charge. I am proud of
them," he said.
Asked what strategy he had in mind before the match,
Ebrahim said, "I told the boys that they play slow initially
and then to pick up the tempo later and play faster," adding
that, "We need only one point from the remaining two matches
to make it to the final."
Meanwhile, Sri Lankan coach Sampatha Perera blamed lack
of adequate rest but conceded that his players were outplayed
by the Syrians.
"We got only a day to rest and we were exhausted but they
outplayed us," he said.
Perera also admitted that absence of D W Hettiarachchi,
who was red-carded in Sri Lanka`s match against Lebanon, was
"Hettiarachchi`s absence weakened our defence. We tried
to play attacking game but the quick goals in the first half
did us in," he said.