x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Football: Fightback delights UAE U17 coach Rashid Amir

Emirati coach says those not involved in 5-2 win against Malaysia U20 on Tuesday will face Indonesia U18s in next preparation match.

UAE Under 17s, in white, found themselves two goals down to their Malaysia Under 20 counterparts, but bounced back to win 5-2. Courtesy UAE FA
UAE Under 17s, in white, found themselves two goals down to their Malaysia Under 20 counterparts, but bounced back to win 5-2. Courtesy UAE FA

Rashid Amir saluted the spirit of his Under 17 team after they fought back from two goals down to beat their Malaysian Under 20 opponents 5-2 in a friendly on Tuesday night.

The Malaysians, who play in Singapore's top division as Harimau Muda and currently occupy seventh position in the league, were up 2-0 going into the break with goals from Faizat Ghazli (23rd minute) and Syazwan Tajudin (33rd). However, the Emiratis bounced back in the second half.

Al Wahda's Mohammed Akbari scored in the 52nd and 68th minute and Zayed Al Amiri of Al Jazira tallied in the 77th and 85th to lead the UAE comeback. Khalid Khalfan was the third scorer of the night.

This was UAE's second win in as many matches in Malaysia, where the team is preparing for the U17 World Cup, which begins in the UAE on October 17. They beat the Singapore U19 national team 4-0 in the first friendly, but the UAE coach was far more pleased with Tuesday's performance.

"This game was a more valuable experience for our team," Amir said. "The Malaysians made it really difficult for us and the players had to really fight to get a positive result. So this experience will certainly help them moving forward, especially when you consider the age difference between the two teams and the experience of the Malaysian players, who participate in the Singapore league and cup.

"At the start of the game, being physically stronger, Malaysia were able to impose themselves on the game, but we made a dramatic turnaround in the second half. So I am really pleased. Both teams played a really good game and turned in a strong performance."

Two goals down, the coach made several changes to the UAE attack line, bringing in Shaheen Darmaki, Al Amiri and Rashid Ahmed for Sultan Al Shamsi, Ibrahim Shukri and Khalid Darwish. The changes lifted the UAE's game and Amir praised the efforts of his super subs.

"The substitutes were the main reason for the turnaround and the superiority of our team," he said.

"When you are down by two goals at the break, you really have to work on the psychological aspects of the players to make sure they don't break down, and then make some tactical changes."

He characterised the play of Darmaki and Abdullah Kazim as brilliant".

The UAE will play three more matches in Malaysia before they return home on August 31. They meet the Indonesian U18 national team tomorrow and will face a Malaysian club team on Monday before playing against the Malaysian U18 squad next Thursday.

"The players who did not start against Malaysia will be given an opportunity against Indonesia," Amir said. "We want to use these matches to give experience and confidence to every single player."



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