UAE 0 // CHILE 2
ABU DHABI // Srecko Katanec, the UAE coach, criticised his team's approach and application as they put in a limp performance last night, losing 2-0 to Chile in front of a smattering of fans at Zayed Sports City.
"We showed zero aggression, the players were slow and the attitude was just not right," said the Slovenian. With 80 places between the teams in Fifa's rankings, Katanec was probably not expecting a victory, but he was particularly disappointed with the way the UAE started the game.
Roberto Cereceda opened the scoring for the South Americans - ranked 10th in the world - from a penalty kick and Pedro Morales doubled the lead before half time. The closest the UAE got was hitting the woodwork twice. "To concede a penalty so early in the game was crazy," added Katance. "We didn't play well for the first 20 minutes and you can't do this against a team like Chile. "In the end we lost 2-0, but we hit the post twice. The result could have been better."
The friendly was a chance for Katanec to run the rule over those players who will be available for the Gulf Cup in November, given that his Under 23 players and the Al Wahda contingent will be missing. "The game was important to me because I was able to see some players for the first time," Katanec said. "The situation is such I don't have many players whom I would have liked to have in the squad. So we have to play with whoever we have."
Mahmoud Khamis was penalised after five minutes by Khalil al Ghamdi, the Saudi referee, for a clumsy tackle on Emilio Hernandez and Cereceda stepped forward for the spot kick, sending Majed Naser the wrong way. Subait Khater hit the woodwork twice, but as the UAE were ruing their luck, Chile made it 2-0. Morales, the Dynamo Zagreb midfielder, completed a fine counter-attacking move just past the half hour. He ran on to a lofted pass from Hector Mancilla, before drilling the ball past Naser.
Fahed Masoud tested Luis Marin, the Chile goalkeeper, twice with a couple of free kicks. The first was a rocket from 40 yards, which Marin did well to push over the bar and he made a similar save from a dipping shot from the left flank. The UAE could have scored a consolation goal towards the end. Mohammed Abdulrahman's header was cleared off the goal line by Osvaldo Gonzales, the Chile defender. Marcelo Bielsa, the Chile coach, said the UAE paid for a lack of killer instinct. "They showed some good technical skills but they didn't finish off their moves," he said.
Katanec now has injury doubts over Ismail Matar and Khater, who both had to be substituted, ahead of the friendly against Angola on Tuesday at the same venue.