UAE enter U-23 title round

Defending champions UAE continued their impressive performance with a well deserved 2-0 victory over hosts Qatar in the semi-final of the Gulf U-23 Cup at the Aspire For Excellence Indoor Stadium on Friday.

By Hisham Al Gizouli

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Published: Sun 21 Aug 2011, 12:20 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 8:05 AM

Mohammed Ahmed broke the deadlock in the 61st and Ahmed Ali doubled the score-line eight minutes later.

Oman won 4-3 against Saudi Arabia in the other semi-final.

The boys in white will face Oman in the final on Sunday. The match will kick off at 12.30pm.

In another clash, Saudi Arabia line up against Qatar in the minor places playoff at the same venue early in the evening.

After a goalless first half, the UAE head coach Mahdi Ali sent in Mohammed Jamal to replace Rashid Eissa and Ahmed Ali instead of Haboush Saleh to boost the midfield.

The move paid dividends and the UAE lads made the best of the low tempo of the Qataris to take control of the midfield and strengthen their grip over the operations area.

Towards the hour mark, Abdul Aziz Haikal led a lovely attack from the right flank and crossed to Mohammed Ahmed inside the box who spared no effort to beat the Qatari keeper with a beautiful header.

In the 69th minute, Ahmed Ali made it 2-0 tackled the Qatari keeper Saad Al Shaieb to add the second goal which virtually put an end to the ambitions of the hosts in returning to the game.

The UAE right back Abdul Aziz Haikal was voted the man of the match thanks to his great efforts in defending the rear flank and providing a helpful hand to the attacking effort.

Haikal said the trophy is a big motivation for him to do better against Oman in the final on Sunday.

In the meantime, a UAE jubilant defender Mohammed Ahmed said he’s delighted with the victory over Qatar and reaching the final in a bid to defend their title. “The final against Oman is a big challenge for us. We need to win to defend our title and take revenge for our early 0-1 defeat in the group stage of the competition. I will do my best to score more goals,” he said.

However, the well-built tall player has always scored from the free and corner kicks with lovely headers.

According to the UAE midfielder Mohammed Jamal, their clash against Oman in the final of the Gulf U-23 Cup is very crucial for them after their preliminary round 0-1 defeat at the hands of their Omani opponents.

Al Rumaithi attends the final

Mohammed Khalfan Al Rumaithi, president of the UAE football association is scheduled to arrive in Doha on Sunday to attend the final of the Gulf U-23 Cup between UAE and Oman.

Oman beat Saudi Arabia

Nour Saleh (4the minute), Qassim Saeed (35), Eid Al Farisi (39) and Hassan Al Hadhari (60) struck for Oman as Yahya Al Shahri (44) and Saqr Otaif (80, 91) scored for Saudi Arabia.

hisham@khaleejtimes.com



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