Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 November 2019

UAE suffer heartbreak in Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup opener against Spain

Hosts lose in penalty shootout after match ends 2-2 after end of regulation time at the Kite Beach in Dubai

The UAE’s campaign in the Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup Dubai got off to a heartbreaking start as they lost to Spain at the Kite Beach on Tuesday.

The host went down 2-1 in a penalty shootout after finishing on 2-2 at the end of regulation time.

“We played a good game against a strong team and when it went to the penalty shootout it could have gone either way. And tonight, it didn’t go our way,” said the UAE manager Mohamed Abbas Al Maazmi.

“It’s a bit disappointing when you lose on penalties but that’s how the nature of beach soccer is. We now need to put this behind and focus on the next game.”

The UAE next meet 2018 European champions Italy, who were beaten by the Asian champions Japan 6-4 in the Group A opener.

“There are no clear favourites in beach soccer,” Al Maazmi added. “We expect Italy to come very hard at us but we are ready for them and ready for the remainder of this competition.

“Our objective, as always, is to win every game we play. Tonight we were a bit unlucky but tomorrow is another day and a new start. Hopefully we can get our campaign back on track.”

The UAE started well but it was Spain who took the lead through Salvador Ardil with less than half a minute left in the 10-minute first period.

Ahmed Beshr had a golden opportunity to level for the hosts but the midfielder sent a close-range chance wide with only the goalkeeper Pablo Molina to beat.

Abbas Ali got the home side back on track with the equaliser four minutes into the second period.

They had another opportunity to get ahead but Kamal Ali’s lobbed cross was just beyond the reach of Beshr.

Beshr made up for his missed opportunities when the midfielder deflected a Llorenc Leon back-pass past Molina for a 2-1 lead midway in the third period. Their joy didn’t last long, though, as Spain levelled through Javier Molina.

The UAE were unlucky again when Ali Mohammed’s effort from 20 yards crashed against the far post. Their luck truly ran out in the subsequent shootout.

Earlier, Japan rallied from two goals down to collect all three points against Italy in the opening game of the night.

Gabriele Gori took the opening goal with a free kick from inside his own half and Emmanuele Zurlo doubled the lead before Japan struck five times to build a solid 5-2 advantage.

Italy reduced the gap to 5-4 before Moreira Ozu sealed the game for Japan with the sixth strike on the night.

In the Group B opener and third game on the night, the three-time winners of the Intercontinental Cup Russia defeated Egypt 5-2.

Updated: November 5, 2019 08:54 PM

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