A late withdrawal by Tajikistan left the UAE with limited options for opposition in their final friendly in Doha tonight.
Fringe players set to face Yemen before Gulf Cup
Mahdi Ali will have another opportunity to fine-tune his team when they meet Yemen for the second time in four days after a late withdrawal by Tajikistan left the UAE with limited options for opposition in their final friendly in Doha tonight ahead of the Gulf Cup.
He is expected to field some of his fringe players for the game after their 2-0 win over Yemen on Christmas Day as part of their preparations for the tournament in Bahrain, which runs from January 5 to 18.
"Obviously, we would have preferred to play a different team but a late apology from the Tajikistan federation did not leave us with any choice," said Rashid Al Zaabi, the head of the national team delegation.
"We had a good first game against Yemen and we can still make maximum use of this friendly by trying out those who didn't get a start the other night.
"We were planning for three friendlies which could have been the ideal but had to cut it short because of time constraints.
"Nevertheless, our camp in Doha has gone according to plan and the coach is very satisfied with the work the players have gone through so far.
"We can say we are now ready for the competition."
The UAE meet Qatar in their opening group game on January 5.
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