x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Vietnam will present a change of pace for UAE in Asian Cup qualifier, says Mahdi Ali

Vietnam play the game at a higher tempo than Arabian Gulf teams, the UAE manager said ahead of the opening 2015 Asian Cup qualifier in Hanoi.

Ismail Matar trans with the UAE football team in Vietnam ahead their 2015 Asian Cup qualifier in Hanoi. Courtesy of UAE FA
Ismail Matar trans with the UAE football team in Vietnam ahead their 2015 Asian Cup qualifier in Hanoi. Courtesy of UAE FA

The UAE may be high on confidence after proving themselves to be the best team in the Arabian Gulf last month, but Mahdi Ali has warned his side that they face a very different kind of opponent today.

Vietnam play the game at a higher tempo than Arabian Gulf teams, the UAE manager said ahead of the opening 2015 Asian Cup qualifier in Hanoi.

"This game will be significantly different to the matches we played in the Gulf Cup because teams from East Asia enjoy high speed and show good organisation," Mahdi Ali said.

The UAE need to finish in the top two in a group that also includes Uzbekistan and Hong Kong to book their spot at the 2015 Asian Cup in Australia.

"The first game is always important," Mahdi Ali added.

The UAE beat Vietnam 1-0 on their last visit to Hanoi, in a 2010 World Cup qualifier, and then drubbed them 5-0 in the return game at home.

Ismail Matar, the UAE captain, played both those matches and he is expecting the hosts to put up strong resistance.

"Vietnam will be playing at home and they are known for their fighting spirit," he said. "So we will have to show a lot of commitment and be at the top of our game."

Hoang Van Phuc, the interim Vietnam coach who had just two weeks of preparation with his team, said: "I am confident especially about the mentality of the players."

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