Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
UAE topped Uzbekistan, 2-1, in Abu Dhabi on Friday. Satish Kumar / The National
UAE topped Uzbekistan, 2-1, in Abu Dhabi on Friday. Satish Kumar / The National

Brief scoring frenzy pushes UAE past Uzbekistan in Asian Cup

UAE rally back and score two second-half goals to get past Uzbekistan in an Asian Cup qualifer, writes Amith Passela.

ABU DHABI // Mahdi Ali took his record as the UAE national team coach in all competitions to seven wins in seven games last night.

Ahmed Khalil and Ali Mabkhout scored crucial strikes within three second-half minutes as the UAE came from a goal down to win 2-1 over Uzbekistan in their Asian Cup qualifier at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium.

“This result is a big step forward for our qualification, because Uzbekistan is one of the teams expected to win a ticket to 2015 Australia,” the coach said.

“The players worked very hard for the past seven days and this was the end result. We couldn’t score in the first half, although we had a few opportunities.

“We made some changes in the second half and it worked.

“It also proves that the team doesn’t depend on any star players. Tonight they proved that point as a cohesive unit.”

The absence of Omar Abdulrahman, the Emirati playmaker, was hardly felt as Amer Abdulrahman, who took his place, played a perfect role and set up both goals.

“We have seen Amer’s return from injury, especially after the Gulf match game against Oman,” the coach said. “He is as good as any other with good skills and talent, and I am very happy for him.”

Ismail Matar’s arrival as a second-half substitute was a turning point.

“Yes, he played an influential role,” the coach said. “He was in the thick of the attack and also fell back in defence, which you don’t see him do before. So he played to his maximum in the 45 minutes. He worked very hard for the team.”

The fans were behind the home team, with an announced 21,357 in attendance, and Mahdi Ali said to bring the crowd back was one of his objectives when he took charge of the national team last August.

“The fans stayed away because they didn’t have the confidence in the team,” he said.

“Now they have the confidence to come and watch the national team and I thank them for that.

“They were behind us all through this game. They didn’t stop cheering the team even when we were a goal down.

“It certainly motivated the team and I think they were the key for the team to come from behind and win this game.

“They were behind us in the Gulf Cup [which the UAE won] and have continued to come and support us in the home games.”

Mirdjalal Kasimov, the Uzbek coach, said three minutes in the second half changed the entire game for them.

“It was an interesting game, especially for the fans,” Kasimov said. “I think we didn’t deserve this result, because we had many scoring chances and were also a bit unlucky.

“At least a draw would have justified our performance. Even after conceding the lead, we had a few chances to get the equalizer but the UAE goalkeeper (Ali Kasheif) was outstanding.”


twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Glenn Maxwell's knock that followed ensured Brendon McCullum's knock went in vain after his explosive half-century took Chennai Super Kings past the 200-mark. Ravindranath K / The National

All is well with Punjab as Maxwell and Miller seal win against Chennai

The Australian missed out on a century but his 95 runs, along with Miller's unbeaten half-century, ensured Kings XI scaled a mighty peak of a target in a hot first game of Abu Dhabi's double-header.

 Sunderland manager Gus Poyet protests during the Premier League match against Crystal Palace at The Stadium of Light in Sunderland, northeast England, on March 15, 2014. Ian MacNicol / AFP

Sunderland going out of Premier League with a grumble

Northeast club have underwhelmed during seven-year stay in the top flight

 Hamburg players leave the field after the match against Borussia Moenchengladbach on March 30, 2014. AFP

Hamburg the dinosaur’s time may be up in Bundesliga

Ever-present for 51 years in the German top-flight, Hamburg face the prospect of relegation, writes Ian Hawkey.

 At 105 kg, Gabrielle Garcia has dominated the world circuit and loves many things about being in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Garcia seeks fresh challenge in MMA after her jiu-jitsu domination

Brazilian prides being a lioness in the sport but feels she can shed 25kg weight to pursue her MMA debut aspirations.

 England's Jonathan Trott hits out during the ICC Champions Trophy semi final match against South Africa at The Oval cricket ground, London June 19, 2013. REUTERS/Philip Brown

England’s Jonathan Trott sidelined with stress-related illness again

Jonathan Trott is to take a second break from professional cricket because of his stress-related illness as England and Wales Cricket Board and Warwickshire confirmed he will stop playing with immediate effect.

 Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho looks on during the Premier League match between Swansea City and Chelsea at the Liberty Stadium on April 13, 2014 in Swansea, Wales. Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

‘That’s why we are a top club’ says Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech

Jose Mourinho’s men will temporarily claim the Premier League top spot if they beat Sunderland, leaving them in control of their own destiny in the title race ahead of a crucial trip to face Liverpool at Anfield on April 27.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National