x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Emirates miss their chance

Portugal beat the hosts 7-5 in thrilling Group A match on the opening day of the Beach Soccer World Cup.

Portugal's Belchior falls over against the UAE in their Beach Soccer World Cup game.
Portugal's Belchior falls over against the UAE in their Beach Soccer World Cup game.

DUBAI // The UAE wasted a dream start against Portugal last night to lose their opening match of the Beach Soccer World Cup 7-5. Egged on by the home supporters, the hosts got off to a blistering start and were leading 3-0 eight minutes into the game. But they conceded five goals in the final period to end up on the losing side.

To reach the second round, which the UAE have failed to do so in their last two World Cup appearances, they tonight have to beat the Solomon Islands, who triumphed 7-6 over Uruguay, and then get the maximum points against Uruguay tomorrow. Rami al Mesaabi opened the scoring with a spectacular bicycle kick in the second minute of the game before Qambar Sadeqi and Bakhit Saad made it 3-0. Ze Maria pulled one back for the Portuguese in the eighth minute of the second period and Belchior further reduced the lead to make it 3-2 going into the final period.

Twenty seconds into the third and final session, Ze Maria was sent off for bringing down Ali Karim in front of goal. Karim scored the resulting penalty to make it 4-2. But Portugal then ran wild. Goals from the captain Majder and Alan made it 4-4, Ibrahim al Balooshi restored the UAE's lead before Bilro tapped home a rebound for 5-5. Madjer then put Portugal into the lead for the first time and completed his hat-trick minutes later to seal UAE's fate.

The Bahrain coach, Gustavo Silva, must instill a greater sense of discipline into his players for their clash against Brazil this evening after loose play helped Switzerland to a 6-5 Group D victory against the Arab qualifiers. "We scored five goals and that should be enough," said Silva whose team have not played in this tournament since 2006. "If we want to win we have to be more controlled." Bahrain, who qualified second in the Asian region, had battled back from 3-1 down after scoring first but never looked like winning. "We have a lot of respect for Bahrain," said the Switzerland coach Angelo Schirinzi. "We managed to kept our heads under pressure."

An extra time deflection saw the 2008 runners-up ,b>Italy squeeze past Argentina in Group C. With the score at 2-2 and just seconds into extra time, a volley from Pasquale Carotenuto deflected off a defender, beat the goalkeeper and Ezequiel Hilaire was too late to clear the ball off the line. "It was close," said Italy coach Giancarlo Magrini. "It was a 70 per cent performance because some of our players are coming back from injury, but it is the confidence this win will bring that is important."

In Group B, the Ivory Coast beat El Salvador 7-6. @Email:sports@thenational.ae