UAE face uphill task vs Vietnam

DUBAI — The UAE assistant coach Alnemer Abdelmajeed is confident that the Boys in White will make it into the second stage of the AFC Youth Championship despite an awkward start against Japan and a 0-0 stalemate against Jordan, a press release said.

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Published: Sat 9 Oct 2010, 12:17 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 4:34 AM

The UAE have to produce their best performance to beat Vietnam at Zibo Sports Centre Stadium on Friday and secure a place in the quarter-finals. Vietnam are second behind Japan with three points and need at least one point to make history by going a step better for the first time. Japan have already secured one of the two berths reserved for the Group C in the quarter-finals after collecting six points from two starts. Holders UAE and Jordan are tailing off the standings with one point each.

“I’m confident the UAE will recover against Vietnam to progress to the quarter-finals,” he said ahead of their final appearance in the preliminary stage of the competition against Vietnam,” Abdelmajeed said.

But, Vietnam’s coach Trieu Quang Ha is of the opinion that nothing is impossible though he admits that there’s nothing easy in football.

Little was expected of Vietnam with the South East Asians having failed to progress beyond the group stage in their three previous appearances whilst they also had to contest with the 2008 winners UAE and six-time finalists Japan at this tournament. But after beating Jordan in their opening Group-C game 2-1 on Monday, they are just one victory away from a place in the last eight.

It will not be easy, however, with the UAE also needing to win to keep alive their hopes of staging a successful defence of the trophy.

Vietnam were thrashed 0-4 by Japan on Wednesday and Quang Ha knows they need to perform better at the back if they are to produce a shock result. “We are still in this tournament but the UAE will be difficult because they are the defending champions so we will have to be at our best,” he said. “We struggled in defence (against Japan) and I had to make changes. We need to improve in our final game,” he added.

The UAE have been disappointing at the tournament so far having lost their opening game to Japan before being held to a goalless draw by Jordan, meaning nothing less than three points will do against Vietnam.

Of concern for coach Juma Rabeeh, however, is a lack of time between games with his players having just one full day to recover from any knocks they may pick up. “The difficult thing for us is that there is only one day between playing and resting,” he said. “This makes it difficult for us to get players fit again if they have any small injuries.”

One such player making his return from injury is Amer Omar, who still showed signs of a lack of fitness following an indifferent show after getting off the bench against Jordan. “He is good player but in the first game he did not play and for the second he was recovering from a slight injury. He was not at his best (against Jordan) but he is still a very good player,” Rabeeh said.

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