UAE goalkeeper Mohamed Al Jasmi is hoisted by his teammates after they beat Japan in a penalty shoot-out on Thursday night. - Supplied photo
Dubai - Goalkeeper pulls off two brilliant saves as The Whites avenge their AFC Beach Soccer Championship final defeat
The UAE had goalkeeper Mohamed Al Jasmi to thank after sealing a semifinal berth in the Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup on Thursday night.
Al Jasmi, better known as Bahri, pulled off two brilliant saves in the penalty shoot-out as The Whites defeated Japan 2-1 in their final Group A fixture at the specially created pitch at the Kite Beach.
The UAE were almost near the exit after Takaaki Oba had scored from a freekick, two minutes into the third and final period.
But a slick of luck with just 12 seconds to go to the whistle, kept the UAE in the hunt. Japan's Kosuke Matsuda came under pressure from Abbas Ali and fired the back pass which went over goalkeeper Tomoya Ginoza and rolled into his own net. Ginoza, who was outstanding for The Samurais on the night, made a desperate attempt to stop it but in vain.
Following his heroics, Al Jasmi said that the UAE were ready to face any team in the semifinals.
"We made a few mistakes in the first few games but we managed to rectify our mistakes. We are glad that we could make our fans happy. We hope that they again come and support us tomorrow (Friday) in the semifinals. We are not looking at who we will meet and we are ready for any team. Our target is to win the title," said Al Jasmi.
Meanwhile, coach Mohamed Al Maazmi was delighted to avenge their AFC Beach Soccer Championship final defeat.
"We played a strong game against a strong team like Japan. We had lost to them in the Asian Championship by penalties. So, it was a huge relief to get a win against them, especially on penalties. But now, we have to quickly forget this match and focus on tomorrow's (Friday) game," said Al Maazmi.
Group A: Italy beat Spain 8-7; UAE beat Japan 1-1 (2-1 PSO).
Group B: Egypt beat Mexico 4-1. Iran beat Russia 3-3 (5-4 PSO).
4.15 p.m: Japan vs Mexico
5.30 p.m: Egypt vs Italy
6.45 p.m: Spain vs Russia
8 p.m: UAE vs Iran