x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Al Shamari hoping for big game showing against UAE

Kuwait may be the big underdogs for tonight's encounter, but Maher al Shammari, their coach, believes the occasion of a big final could bring the best out of his team.

Kuwait may be the big underdogs for tonight's encounter, but Maher al Shammari, their coach, believes the occasion of a big final could bring the best out of his team. "The UAE are the favourites in everyone's mind, and I can't disagree, but having made it to the final, I believe my team can still come out with an extra ordinary performance," said al Shammari. "The final can do wonders to the spirit of the players, and who knows?"

Kuwait can take heart from their battling display in their 1-1 draw in their group clash with the UAE, a result that ended Saudi Arabia's chances of qualification for the knockout stages. Mahdi Ali, the UAE manager, had the same belief and has called on his players to stay focused. "The final is different. We must not get carried away with the results from the previous games. We are going into a new game and Kuwait will have the confidence of playing out a draw against us.

"I have full confidence on my players. They have improved after every game and I would like to think the best is yet to come. They have done everything asked from them and one more collective effort is all what we need. The favourite tag doesn't bother me because this team are experienced enough to cope with that. "But we never know what to expect from an opposition, particularly a team that come into a final without undue pressure."

In last night's third-place play-off, Oman beat the hosts Qatar on penalty kicks following a 1-1 draw. Qassem Said opened the scoring for Oman just after the break, but Ahmed Saleh drew Qatar level with 19 minutes left. Oman then won 4-2 in the shoot-out. apassela@thenational.ae