The third round of three stage process involved 12 teams divided into three groups. The top three teams will advance directly to the finals. Runners up in the group stage play against each other in a round-robin tournament and a centralised venue is yet to be named. The winner of the group will advance to play the fourth-ranked CAF team in a play-off for a spot in London.
“It’s a good start against the front-runners of the Group-B,” said UAE striker Ahmed Khalil who was also named the man of the match.
“The wet ground was not helpful at all. But, in all cases one point is better than nothing and it’s good to get it from the Socceroos. We are still at the beginning of our campaign and hopefully our injured players, including skipper Hamdan Al Kamali would be able to catch up before our home clash against Uzbekistan on October 23,” he said.
Zeyab Awana who has reunited with the squad last week was injured and replaced with Omer Abdul Rahman in the opening minutes of the second half.
“It’s an encouraging start. I have injured my shoulder after a fall but there’s nothing to worry about,” he clarified.
“I think under the current circumstances, it’s a very good start. Generally, I’m satisfied with what I have seen. The players did well and our defenders fought hard. Hamdan is very important for our campaign and hopefully he will be back soon.
“When we have carried out our main training session and I wonder why did they water the venue. We have missed many scoring opportunities, but you do not win all the way. Sometimes you score and others you miss,” coach Mahdi Ali said.
In another clash, South Korea edged Oman 2-0 and Japan beat Malaysia with the same result.
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