Omar Abdul Rahman nets UAE winner

Omar Abdul Rahman nets UAE winner

Emirati team edge past East Timor in World Cup qualifying opener



By Hisham Al Gizouli (chief Reporter)

Published: Wed 17 Jun 2015, 10:50 AM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:11 PM

The UAE’s Omar Abdul Rahman vies for the ball with an East Timor player during their Fifa world Cup qualifying match in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday. — Supplied photo

The UAE senior football team started their Group-A 2018 Fifa World Cup-2019 AFC Asian Cup joint-qualifying campaign on a winning note following their narrow 1-0 victory over East Timor at the Shah Alam Stadium in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday.

The UAE senior football team started their Group-A 2018 Fifa World Cup-2019 AFC Asian Cup joint-qualifying campaign on a winning note following their narrow 1-0 victory over East Timor at the Shah Alam Stadium in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday.

Omar Abdul Rahman fired home the all-important goal of the otherwise slow-paced clash to earn his country crucial full points in their away encounter.

“I don’t think my players have shown their all as I have already said,” the UAE head coach engineer Mahdi Ali noted.

“The players have just come from a long and tough season at home and some of them like Al Ain and Al Ahli players were fighting on more than one front. I think the most important thing was to win the three points and this mission has been accomplished however the performance was not convincing against a lower — ranked side,” he added. “Players like Ali Mabkhout, for example, have returned from an injury and didn’t take part in our friendly against South Korea,” he said.

East Timor had made an impressive start to the second preliminary round after holding Malaysia to a 1-1 draw last Thursday, held out their more illustrious opponents until Omar Abdul Rahman found his way to the back of the net with 10 minutes only remaining from the final whistle.

“It was a tough game against a well-organised side especially in the rear flank. Our opponents played a very big game and defended very well. They have left us with the only option to strike from outside the area and luckily our attempts paid off,” said the Al Ain international superstar Omar Abdul Rahman.

“I would like to thank the players for the great effort despite the poor ground and the unfavourable humid and hot weather conditions. We are all delighted because of the break after an exceptionally long and tough season,” he said.

The win sees the UAE go level with Saudi Arabia at the top of the Group’s standings on three points. The Saudis were equally tested by the emerging Palestine and needed a stoppage-time goal to see them off and make a winning start to their joint-qualifying campaign last week.

The participating teams will compete according to a double round robin format, with the Round 2 qualification matches being held between June 11, 2015 and March 29, 2016. The group winners and four best runners-up (total 12 teams) will advance to the 2019 AFC Asian Cup finals and the final round of qualifying for the 2018 Fifa World Cup.

The next best 24 teams from the preliminary stage of the joint qualifiers will compete in a separate competition for the remaining slots (12 slots or 11 slots + 1 slot for the host) in the 24-team 2019 Asian Cup.


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