UAE did not play for draw, says Mahdi Ali

UAE did not play for draw, says Mahdi Ali

UAE coach says Omar Abdulrahman seemingly deserved time to rediscover his best form and fitness after a lengthy spell on the sidelines.



By Alex Leach/senior Reporter

Published: Sat 15 Nov 2014, 8:36 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 5:39 PM

UAE coach Mahdi Ali denied his side had played for a draw and defended the performance of Omar Abdulrahman following their disappointing 0-0 stalemate with Oman.

Many a national side at this Gulf Cup showed a real reticence to risk the point they began with at the referee’s first whistle if it meant coming away with nothing at his final shrill in their opening-round matches.

That’s borne out by the fact that six of the eight teams have shared the spoils, with only Group B leaders Kuwait emerging as the solitary victors so far following their 1-0 win over Iraq.

However, Ali insists no such defensive and negative tactics can be levelled at the defending champions, while Omar Abdulrahman seemingly deserves time to rediscover his best form and fitness after a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

“We did not play for a draw, as some people believe,” Ali explained. “We played our natural way, which we have become accustomed to, and our forwards didn’t have defensive roles. We had more opportunities than Oman, but we didn’t take them.

“We don’t play defensively and never think about the draw. We go into any game motivated to win and we played as normal.”

On Abdulrahman, aka ‘Amoory’, Ali added: “Amoory hasn’t played for a long time. It’s his first full match for more than a month.

“His performance in the second half was a result of his declining fitness levels, but we opted for him to complete the game in order to be even readier for the next match in this tournament.

“We’re confident that he will be able to develop and fully recover for the next game (against Kuwaiton Monday, Kick-off:6:45pm), which is an important one for the team.” -alex@khaleejtimes.com


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