x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

India no match for UAE

Srecko Katanec, the UAE coach, was delighted with his side's comprehensive victory over India at Al Wasl stadium.

UAE’s Ahmed Jumma, right, and Gouramangi Singh, of India, in hot pursuit of the ball during their friendly in Dubai last night.
UAE’s Ahmed Jumma, right, and Gouramangi Singh, of India, in hot pursuit of the ball during their friendly in Dubai last night.

UAE 5 // India 0

UAE al Kas 14’, Mubarak 34’, al Wehaibi 66’, 73’, Jumaa 71’
Man of the match Subait Khater (UAE)

DUBAI // Srecko Katanec, the UAE coach, was delighted with his side's comprehensive victory over India at Al Wasl stadium last night. But he feels the result is not a reliable barometer of how his team will fare in the Gulf Cup, which begins next week.

The team will board a plane for Yemen on Sunday in fine spirits after Ali al Wehaibi scored twice and Saeed al Kas, Amer Mubarak and the substitute Ahmed Jumaa also found the net against a team who are ranked 38 places behind them, at No 142, in the Fifa standings.

"I am satisfied with the performance against India but it's not something that we can judge how good we are in the Gulf Cup," Katenec said.

"We scored five goals and the Indian goalkeeper made some good saves, so it is a pretty good result in terms of a friendly match. It doesn't matter by how many goals we won but it is the way we played that I am more concerned with.

"We want to play good football and win our matches when we go to the Gulf Cup. And this was a good game before we leave to Yemen."

The UAE are in Group B at the Gulf Cup and will face Oman, Iraq and Bahrain. Their first game is against Iraq on Tuesday, and they will hope to translate the form from the India game into that.

The UAE were on the attack from the outset and could have scored in the opening 10 minutes. Maher Jassim's cross from the left flank came off the far post, but Subrata Paul, the Indian goalkeeper, made the first of four good saves to keep the home side from taking the lead.

However, the goal the UAE had been threatening finally arrived on 14 minutes and opened the floodgates.

Al Kas, the striker from Al Wasl, timed his run perfectly to connect with a dipping cross from Yousuf Jaber and launch a powerful header from eight yards. Mubarak doubled the lead 20 minutes later with another header, this time from a corner.

The lead could have been bigger. Paul did well to push out a stinging shot from Subait Khater and later repelled efforts from al Kas and al Wehabi, twice. However, the goalkeeper stood no chance with the three second-half efforts.

In Yemen, Katanec will be calling on the same group of players he used last night because most of his first-choice players are in China for the Asian Games or play for Al Wahda, whose players were not made available during that club's preparations for the Fifa Club World Cup.

"This is something that the Football Association has decided and these players are the next best I could assemble in such a short time," Katanec said. "But I can't say they are the second-string team because these are the players that are available for the national team and I expect them to rise to the occasion.

"There are some players who have already been playing in the national team and they get another chance, and there are some with a new opportunity and they should grab it and prove they are worthy of being in the national team."

apassela@thenational.ae