Members of the UAE Under-23 squad training in Guangzhou yesterday in preparation for the Asian Games football event. The UAE players shoulder a big responsibility with great expectations from their fans to win a medal. Image Credit: Supplied picture

Abu Dhabi: The UAE under-23 team suffered a setback in the opener of their campaign in the football competition of the Asian Games in Guangzhou in China Sunday when they were forced to settle for a 1-1 tie against Hong Kong.

The UAE, one of the favourites to win a medal in the Games, took the lead in the 36th minute when defender Abdullah Mousa moved up to score after dominating all along.

The Hong Kong players defended and tried to organise some counterattacks to break through and succeeded in snatching an equaliser in the 80th minute. Mehdi Ali, the head coach of the UAE, started the match with Ali Khaseef in goal. Abdul Aziz Haikal, Hamdan Al Kamali, Mohammad Ahmad and Abdullah Mousa in defence. Theyab Awanah, Amer Abdul Rahman, Mohammad Fawzi and Mohammad Al Shehi in midfield. Ahmad Khalil and Ahmad Ali in attack.

In the second half, in his quest to strengthen the attacking line-up, Ali brought in Omar Abdul Rahman to replace Al Shehi, Habboush Saleh in place of Awanah and Saeed Al Kathiri to replace Khalil. However, Abdul Rahman got two yellow cards and was sent off in the 88th minute — which means the team would miss his services in the next match tomorrow against Bangladesh.

Uzbekistan head Group E with three points.