UAE keep hopes alive

DUBAI - UAE held defending champions Oman to a goalless draw in the second round of the 20th Gulf Cup at the 22nd May Stadium in Aden, Yemen on Friday.

By Hisham Al Gizouli

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Published: Sat 27 Nov 2010, 11:36 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 4:33 AM

Both sides have raised their respective tallies to two points from two draws. UAE drew their first game against Iraq while the Oman-Bahrain clash also ended in a stalemate.

“I’m happy with the result because it kept our chances alive in advancing to the knockout stage,” said UAE keeper Majid Nasser in a post-match chat.

The same opinion was echoed by UAE skipper Subait Khater, who felt that luck was not on their side.

“We are here to prepare a new team. We came to ensure the success of the competition and at the same time prepare for the upcoming 2011 Asian Cup in Doha. We are improving in each game and hopefully we would be able to do better in our final encounter against Bahrain in the final round of the group stage,” he said.

Debutant Ahmed Jumaa said it was a great honour for him to wear UAE colours for the first time in his life. He hoped that everything would be better and the team would make it to the second stage when they take on Bahrain on Monday.

“Both sides didn’t lack the desire to win but the strikers failed to translate the scoring opportunities which came in their way,” he said.

Al Ain’s left winger Ali Al Weihibi said they were looking forward to get the job done against Bahrain.

“Unfortunately, we missed a very good opportunity to claim full points. It’s true that we have played carefully to stop the Omanis from scoring, but still we were able to reach the Omani goal and create good scoring opportunities,” he said. Omani playmaker Ahmed Kano said they were the better side on the pitch.

“Our clashes against UAE are always interesting and they are one of the most exciting derbies in the Gulf region. It was a tough clash and the UAE played a strictly defensive game. The traffic was very heavy in midfield and we tried to operate from the flanks. Also the artificial grass was not helpful at all.

“The UAE players are young and promising but they need more self confidence. I think we have played against a very strong team despite the UAE players are less experienced,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Omani forward Emad Al Hosani who suffered a light injury and substituted in the second, said the doctor would decide whether he would be playing against Iraq in the next match.

“The surface is disappointing not for Oman alone but for all other teams. UAE is a big side and they have played a good game,” he said.

But, for the Omani keeper Mohammed Al Howaidi, UAE’s brilliant keeper Nasser played the most crucial part in denying the Oman strikers.

“Nasser was very impressive. He made some courageous saves that denied us a well deserved victory,” he noted.

But the Omani football boss Khaled Al Bousaidi said he was not happy with the performance of the players though he understood the good reasons for that.

“They could have done better. Our team set the pace but did not score. In my opinion, both teams are losers and face a real threat of exiting from the preliminary round of the competition.

“We have played better at home when we won the title last year. Many things have changed since then. We need to improve to defend our title,” he said.

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