x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Germany comprehensive in UAE victory

Gomez scores four as Germany punish the UAE in a 7-2 drubbing in their match in Dubai.


DUBAI // The UAE were hoping to gain some invaluable experience from playing against Germany. Instead they got an abject lesson in precision that the team will not forget for a long time. The visitors, three-time World champions and placed No 2 in the Fifa world rankings, raced to a 4-0 lead by the break and added two more early in the second half before the UAE pulled two back.

The striker Mario Gomez, however, struck his fourth goal of the night in injury time to finish the game 7-2 in favour of the visitors. After a subdued and unimpressive start to the proceedings, Heiko Westermann opened the floodgates in the 29th minute, tapping the ball from inside a crowded box. Six minutes later, Lukas Podolski sprinted down on the flank and crossed the ball for Mario Gomez to boot home Germany's second of the evening. Piotr Trochowski made it 3-0 in the 39th minute, while Gomez got his second of the game on the stroke of half-time.

Gomez then completed his hat-trick three minutes on resumption, placing the ball to perfection in the corner after the Germans made a counter attack. Fares Juma's own goal made it 6-0 in the 52nd minute, but seconds later the impressive Ismail al Hammadi pulled one back for the hosts. Nawaf Mubarak further reduced the deficit on 73 minutes as the Germans slowed down. The score line obviously highlighted the gulf in class between the two sides, and UAE, ranked 120 in the world, would feel more aggrieved with their finishing rather than the goals they haemorrhaged at the other end. Their first real opportunity came early in the 4th minute when al Hammadi, easily the best UAE player on the night, made a scorching run down the right and crossed the ball. Mohammed al Shehi's header, however, floated harmlessly over the crossbar.

Al Hammadi slipped through the famed German defence again in the 18th minute and crossed, but the young German keeper Arne Friedrich kept Mahmoud Khamis' subsequent header out. Seconds later, al Shehi, showing good dribbling skills, wove his way into the box, but his eventual shot sailed over the woodwork.

Al Hammadi, meanwhile, came close to equalising in the 31st minute after a neat one-two with Faisal Khalil, but was denied by the German keeper. Friedrich came to Germany's rescue again in the 37th minute, diving to his right to keep Khamis' free kick out. Al Hammadi finally got the reward for all his hard work in the 53rd minute, when he left Friedrich stranded with a scorching volley from the top of the box.

Nawaf Mubarak came off the bench to reduce the deficit further in the 73rd minute with a booming left-footed strike. The two UAE goalscorers then combined on a counter in the 76th minute, out running the tiring German defence, but they failed to get past Friedrich. arizvi@thenational.ae