2012 Olympic Qualifier: London beckons UAE

2012 Olympic Qualifier: London beckons UAE

ABU DHABI — The UAE Olympic football team have kept one foot into London.



By (James Jose)

Published: Thu 23 Feb 2012, 9:20 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 2:15 AM

The UAE defeated Australia in a Group B fixture of the AFC Asian Qualifiers for the 2012 London Olympics at a packed Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium on Wednesday night.

Watched by 28,734 spectators and the UAE National team, UAE scored a solitary goal win over the Olyroos. And the man who took them closer was Omar Abdulrahman. Omar, who plays for Al Ain in UAE’s domestic competitions, scored the match-winner in the 24th minute.

UAE, whose path was made easier after Uzbekistan had lost to Iraq on Tuesday night, have one game left against Uzbekistan on March 14. And they only need to draw that game to seal a berth for their first ever Olympics.

Australia had the first look at goal on 15 minutes but midfielder Aaron Mooy’s shot from the tip of the box was collected by goalkeeper Khalid Eisa. Two minutes later, UAE came close but Ahmed Khalil, who had missed the previous game against Iraq due to injury, shot wide of the post.

Australia came the closest to going ahead in the 20th minute when their captain Oliver Bozanic had a crack at goal from inside the box but UAE defender Saad Suroor made a goalline clearance.

Three minutes later, Ahmed Ali was fouled by Ben Kantarovski and Ahmed Khalil’s dipping freekick was punched for a corner by goalkeeper Mathew Ryan. And UAE took the lead through Omar Abdulrahman who fired home off a backheel pass from Rashed Eisa.

Australia had a chance to draw level five minutes before half-time but Aaron Mooy, who plies his trade in the Scottish Premier League for St. Mirren, saw his shot hit the crossbar.

UAE could have doubled it in the opening minutes of second half but Rashed Eisa muffed up a golden chance after having done all the hard work. Eisa did a solo with the defenders in hot pursuit but he fired it straight into the hands of the goalkeeper.

UAE coach Mahdi Ali took off midfielder Rashed Eisa and brought in midfielder Mohammed Fawzi in the 54th minute and later replaced forward Ahmed Ali with midfielder Haboosh Saleh in the 64th. Australian coach Aurelio Vidmar brought in forward Kerem Bulut in place of midfielder Ben Kantarovski in the 66th minute.

UAE came close to increasing the lead in the 69th minute but substitute Haboosh Saleh’s sizzling left-footer just whizzed past the left upright.

Australia brought in another forward in Dimitrios Petratos with 15 minutes left, while Ali Ahmed Mabkhout came in for Ahmed Khalil.

james@khaleejtimes.com


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