The UAE's preparations for the final round of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup began with a 1-0 defeat to Algeria.
UAE defeated in friendly
The UAE's preparations for the final round of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup began with a 1-0 defeat to Algeria in a friendly international at the Le Touquet Sports Centre in France tonight. Algeria, who has to progress through the African qualifiers, took the lead in the seventh minute through a close-range header from Yasin Bazal seconds after the UAE were unlucky enough not to earn a spot kick when Ismail Matar was brought down at the other end. The UAE players were at a complete loss at the horrendous tackle on their star forward when the Algerians seized the opportunity to take play on to the other end and score off a neat cross. Bruno Metsu's men playing their first competitive game in nearly three months looked rusty at the beginning despite the early scoring opportunity they had when Matar took play inside the 'box' after picking up a long ball, but only to be brought down by a tackle from behind. The UAE created a couple of chances thereafter through Mohammed Ibrahim, who made a fine solo effort, but shot over the crossbar. He later worked his way up the left flank but the move broke down in front the Algerian goal. Second half substitute Ahmed Dada nearly struck the equaliser when his close range shot ricocheted off a defender to smash against the crossbar. The UAE pressed for the equaliser but failed to break the Algeria defence, even after both teams had made wholesale changes 20 minutes into the second half. Ismail Rabea denied the Algerians from doubling the score late in the match when he palmed off a close range header. The match was an eye opener for Metsu's men who complete their European training camp with a game against a Professional French Select team on Friday at the same venue. The team returns to Abu Dhabi on August 25 and play Bahrain four days later in their final friendly before their opening World Cup qualifier with North Korea on Sept 6 in a pool that also include South Korea, Iran and Saudi Arabia, whom they face in the second match on Sept 10. @email:firstname.lastname@example.org