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Impressive debut by UAE women

Beat Palestine 4-2 while reigning champions Jordan trounce Bahrain 4-1

Image Credit: ABDUL RAHMAN/Gulf News
Fatima Bint Mubarak Al Maleh of the UAE in action during the 3rd Waff Women's Championship at the Armed ForcesStadium in Abu Dhabi on Saturday night.
Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Nachida Alifa was the star as the UAE made an impressive debut in the West Asian Football Federation (Waff) Women's Football Championship on Saturday.

Alifa scored a hat-trick as the UAE beat Palestine 4-2.

The tournament, the first official women's competition in the history of UAE football, kicked off with reigning champions Jordan trouncing Bahrain 4-1.

Bahrain fought well for most of the match and could have ended the encounter 1-1 but for the last 10 minutes, when Jordan scored three goals with their star striker Stephanie Al Naber scoring twice to complete a hat-trick while her team-mate Maysa Jabara scored once.

The UAE's Australian coach Connie Selby expressed her pleasure with her team's performance and the result in their first match in the competition against Palestine.

"I am happy with the way the players handled the responsibility and played to win the match," Selby said. "We dominated midfield and gave no space for our opponents to build their attacking moves. We also succeeded in scoring an early goal, which led to our big victory after our players dominated the match.

"Our players showed great potential and we are working to prepare them for their next match in the competition."

The UAE started their match against Palestine with a pressing attack to score an early goal when Nachida scored from 30 yards out following a free kick.

Nachida added her second goal in the 25th minute before Natalie Shaheen pulled one back for Palestine from a fast counter-attack.

Narrow miss

Nachida was deprived by the bar from adding her third goal in the 36th minute after she was awarded a spot-kick by referee Shiva Yari, from Iran.

The UAE started the second half from where they had left off in the first and in the 51st minute after Fatima was fouled. She took the spot-kick herself, scoring her team's third goal.

Walaa scored Palestine's second goal from yet another fast counter-attack on the right flank in the 76th minute, but Nachida completed her hat-trick in the 82nd minute to seal the result for the UAE.

The hosts now need one point to secure their berth in the semifinal, irrespective of the result of the match between Kuwait and Palestine tonight.

Meanwhile, Khalid Al Harban, the coach of Bahrain, was satisfied with his team despite losing 4-1 to reigning champions Jordan

"We played a good match, especially in building counter-attacking moves. We forced them to wait till the last 10 minutes when our players were physically exhausted ..." he said.

Do you think the UAE team has a good chance of winning? Will this see more women entering the sporting field?