x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

UAE U23 team erase memories of Oman defeat to reach Gulf Cup semi-final

The defending champions had to win convincingly to qualify from Group B and they rose to the occasion with a superb 5-1 win against Bahrain.

UAE 5 // Bahrain 1
(Daeij 30 og, Ali 38, Fawzi 62, Mabkhout 82, 89; Al Alawy 86p)

The UAE booked their place in the semi-finals of the Under 23 Gulf Cup after a 5-1 demolition of Bahrain at the Aspire Academy in Doha last night.

The defending champions had to win convincingly to qualify from Group B and they rose to the occasion with a superb performance to forget their shock 3-2 defeat to Oman on Sunday.

The result also took them to the top of group with a better goal difference than Oman, who were edged out by Bahrain 1-0 in the opening night, joining them as the second team.

The UAE enjoyed some good fortune for their opening goal when Mohammed Daeij, the Bahrain defender, deflected Rashid Essa's effort to his own net. Ahmed Ali tapped in a ball that hit Daeij again and ballooned in front of the goalmouth off an Abdulaziz Haikal cross give the Emirates a 2-0 half-time lead.

Ali Mabkhout then sent a through pass for Mohammed Fawzi to complete a flowing move from their own half for the third.

Mabkhout, the Al Jazira forward, then took advantage on a couple of defensive errors to score twice in the last eight minutes to complete the rout. Mohammed Al Alawy scored a consolation goal from a spot kick for Bahrain.

apassela@thenational.ae