Sport | Football

UAE team not shying away from clash

Coach Ali says his team will rise to the occasion in Wembley bout with hosts

  • By Alaric Gomes, Senior Reporter
  • Published: 17:23 July 28, 2012
  • Gulf News

UAE flag bearer Saeed Al Maktoum leads the UAE contingent during the opening ceremony
  • Image Credit: AFP
  • UAE flag bearer Saeed Al Maktoum leads the UAE contingent during the opening ceremony of the London Games.

London: UAE coach Mahdi Ali is optimistic his team will get better as they line up their next challenge against hosts Team GB in the football competition of the 2012 London Games at Wembley tonight (10.45pm UAE).

After going down to Uruguay 2-1 in their Group A opener on Thursday, Ali’s group of enthusiastic youngsters are keen to pocket the six points on offer in their next two assignments, including today’s much-anticipated encounter.

“The first match was a great experience for all of us. We were playing at the hallowed Old Trafford of Manchester United and our boys were at ease as they knew the ultimate goal,” Ali told Gulf News after arriving here on Friday morning.

In the evening was a light training session and the players gelled well between themselves, eager to put Thursday’s disappointment behind them.

Skipper Esmail Mattar gave the UAE the lead in the 23rd minute, when he slotted home off a dainty Omar Abdul Rahman pass. But Gaston Ramirez restored parity for the two-time Olympic gold medalists and substitute Nicolas Lodeiro decided the match when he slammed home from close after his captain Luis Suarez had done all the hard work on the left wing in the 56th minute.

“We played well, but we were unlucky. We created more chances than Uruguay, but they scored two and the match was won for them. I think a draw would have been a fair result,” Ali said.

“But I am not concerned. This is a focused group of players and I think we will play better in the next game against Team GB.”

On the other hand, Team GB is tied with Senegal with one point after conceding a late equaliser in the second match on Thursday. “Of course I respect Team GB as they are very good. Besides, they are the hosts and the stadium will be crowded in their favour. We have to stay calm and see what we need to do to ensure we take home three points,” Ali added.

Ali was effusive in his praise for his players, in particular young midfielder Abdul Rahman. “Omar is one of the youngest players in the team and he has such a fantastic attitude towards the game. I hope he plays better in the next match,” he said.

Comments (1)

Share your views.
  1. Added 23:25 August 8, 2607

    I am from GB and have been looking forward to this game for weeks now. I am not a GB supporter and wish the UAE the best of luck I will be on their side!!! UAE FOR VICTORY INSHALLAH!!!

    Zahid, Glasgow, United Kingdom

Gulf News
Quick Links

  1. Business

  2. The latest Entertainment news

  3. The latest Lifestyle stories

  4. Blogs

  5. Opinion

In Sport

  1. Cricket

  2. Football

  3. Motorsport

  4. Basketball

  5. Boxing

  6. Horse Racing

  7. Athletics

  8. Golf

  9. Rugby

  10. Sailing

  11. Tennis

Latest In Sport

  1. Birdie blitz propels Vance into solo lead

  2. Park, Sun to resume rivalry at the pool

  3. North Korean women hit five past Vietnam

  4. UAE seek three medals in athletics

  5. Scottish independence in sporting terms

  6. 335 fighters in fray for Dubai Jiu-Jitsu event