Dubai: The du LaLiga High Performance teams ran into mixed luck as they entered the second week of their training and scouting tour against LaLiga clubs in Spain.
The under-16 team was the only one returning with full points following a 2-0 win over Almeria, while the under-18 side went down 1-2 against the same club. And in their next friendly against Granada, the under-16s lost 1-2 and the seniors did well for a goalless draw.
The du under-16 team did well against their opening match against Almeria with skipper Adham Bayoumi sending in a through ball for Mohammad Kareem to convert in the 36th minute. Midway through the second half, the du team ensured a win after an Omar Taha pass saw Fabio Rollano drive through the Almeria defence and slot home to give the visitors a deserving 2-0 win.
The under-18s held Almeria to a goalless first half. However, the home team made major changes in their squad and scored twice within the opening ten minutes for a 2-0 cushion. Driss Matni had a lovely opportunity to pull one back in the 65th minute when he was fouled inside the area. But, the Almeria goalkeeper brought off a fantastic save to keep the home team in the match.
The visitors managed to pull back a consolation goal towards the end of play when skipper Mohammad Bouherrafa crossed for Mohammad Anas to head home.
“We did expect our teams to perform well this year as the under-18 team that has been champions of the UAE FA Academy League, have had a full year of training. The under-16 have been training since April and this week they demonstrated that they indeed can play at the level of LaLiga,” Fernando Sanz, General Director, LaLiga, Mena, noted.
In their match against Granada, the under-18 team settled for a goalless draw while the juniors went down by an odd goal in three. The UAE under-16s in fact took the lead at the half-time whistle when top scorer Mehdi Elkhamlichi headed in an inch-perfect cross from defender Mohammad Shabrawy.
After that goalkeeper Rajai Ardakani brought off some smart saves to keep the du HPC in the game. But Granada came back strong in the second half scoring in the 46th and 74th minutes to walk away with the win.
The du LaLiga HPC teams will next face LaLiga Youth League champions Malaga FC during the week.