Too late to save Suncorp pitch: Iran coach

Jan 18, 2015 - 10:31 AM Iran coach Carlos Queiroz says it is "too late" to try and save the Suncorp Stadium pitch after his team was forced to train elsewhere due to last-minute repairs on Sunday.

Stadium management made an 11th hour attempt to salvage the playing surface by re-laying the turf in both six-yard boxes while barring Iran and the UAE from training at the venue ahead of their crucial Asian Cup clash in Brisbane on Monday night.

Initially reluctant to comment after he was fined $3000 earlier on Sunday for criticising Australian referee Ben Williams, Queiroz said it was a pointless exercise.

"It doesn't make sense now because it is too late," he said.

"We just have to play under the conditions.

"It's the same for both teams and there is nothing to say.

"I hope only one thing: that the pitch does not affect the quality of the game tomorrow, because if that happens it is a pity."

UAE coach Mahdi Ali said the field was "disappointing" in light of the Asian Football Confederation's `Don't Delay, Let's Play' campaign, which aims to encourage teams to keep the ball active and in play for at least 60 minutes per match.

"One of the objectives of the AFC is to have 60 minutes and improve the level of football," he said.

"There are many (ways) to do that and one the main factors in this is the field.

"Of course, it will affect the game but we will try our best to adapt."

Suncorp Stadium will also host Australia's quarter-final against China on Thursday night.

The stadium's general manager Alan Graham said turf replacement was always on the cards given the heavy traffic at the Brisbane venue, and that the surface has passed numerous independent tests for playability and safety.

Top spot in Group C is at stake on Monday night, with the loser likely to face Japan in the quarter-finals.

Iran has only ever lost once to the UAE in 15 meetings at international level, but Queiroz said Team Melli would have its work cut out against what he believes is now the best team in west Asia.

"They played together for many years, since the under-17s," he said.

"Some of the players could play with each other with eyes closed - they know exactly where the others are, what they do, what they can expect.

"It's a beautiful thing to see."

Source: AAP

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