Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 21 May 2019

Majed Hassan calls on UAE fans to 'get behind us' in Asian Cup last-16 tie with Kyrgyzstan

Shabab Al Ahli Dubai midfielder hopes supporters will cheer them 'as never before' for Monday's game in Abu Dhabi

UAE star Majed Hassan, left, and his teammates are preparing for their Asian Cup last-16 match against Kyrgyzstan. Chris Whiteoak / The National
UAE star Majed Hassan, left, and his teammates are preparing for their Asian Cup last-16 match against Kyrgyzstan. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Majed Hassan has called on UAE supporters to once again rally behind the team for their Asian Cup last-16 clash with Kyrgyzstan on Monday.

Paying tribute to the fans, Hassan called them "the best weapon" Alberto Zaccheroni's men have at their disposal, especially considering the continental tournament is being held in the Emirates.

“They have been behind us in every game and we want their presence for this match as never before,” the Shabab Al Ahli Dubai midfielder said ahead of the 9pm kick-off at Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

“We definitely will give our best shot on the pitch," he added. "We are glad to play in the Round of 16. Now the next objective is to reach the last eight in a competition we are playing at home.”

The UAE qualified for the knockout stages after topping Group A. Kyrgyzstan advanced from Group C behind South Korea and China as one of the four best third-placed teams in the competition.

The hosts may be favourites on paper seeing as they are 12 places higher than their opponents in the Fifa rankings table - 79 and 91 respectively - but Hassan said it matters little at this stage.

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“We have reached the knockout round, and this format is different because only the winner remains in the race,” he added. “I think we have the stuff to achieve that objective. [But] we are not thinking beyond this game because our entire focus - as the coach pointed out - is on this game."

Meanwhile Kyrgyzstan striker Vitalij Lux, who scored a hat-trick against the Philippines in their group game, is hoping for another goal rush.

“I wish I can be doing that again in this all-important game,” Lux said. “It’s my job to score goals. I feel I’m in good form at the moment.

"It’s going to be a tough game against the tournament hosts, but we are confident of a good result for us,” he said.

Updated: January 21, 2019 08:13 AM

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