Dubai: Al Hilal are ready to throw in their best against any opponent after topping Group A with an unbeaten record in the Ninth Dubai International U16 Football Championship being played at the Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club ground in Al Mamzar.
The club from Saudi Arabia completed their league engagements with a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Al Wasl to finish at the top of Group A with seven points following two wins and a draw. Captain Abdullah Mohammad Al Shamsi handed Al Wasl a surprising lead when he tapped in a cross from Abdullah Khalifa Al Falasi in the eighth minute.
Playing with a second string side after resting some of their key players, Al Hilal found an equaliser in the 54th minute after Abdullah Hadi Radif pounced on a rebound from goalkeeper and man of the match Yousuf Mohammad Al Rahma to place into the far corner of the net. Both teams then had a couple of opportunities each for full points, but Abdullah Al Astad placed wide for Al Wasl with an open goal before him, while Radif showed unnecessary urgency in placing home with just Al Rahma at his mercy.
The draw gave Al Wasl their second point of the competition as they finished at the bottom of the group with an inferior goal difference compared to Germany’s Borussia Dortmund who had to make an early exit with just two points. The Germans continued a disappointing competition with a goalless draw against Shabab Al Ahli Dubai in the second match on Sunday.
Shabab Al Ahli Dubai joined Al Hilal in the semi-finals with four points. Shabab Al Ahli Dubai — most probably the only one from Dubai making it to the last four stages — will in all likelihood be up against defending champions CR Flamengo from Brazil, while Al Hilal will most probably face Atletico Madrid of Spain in Wednesday’s semi-finals.
“Today’s result was not all that important for us as we wanted to rest our key players to give them some extra recovery period before the semi-finals,” Al Hilal coach Carlos Inarejos told Gulf News.
“The players know that from now every movement counts for us. We make one mistake and that can be costly. Reaching the knockout stages is only the start for us and we want to take it one step at a time and reach the top.
“We are afraid of no one in this competition. We have the players needed to carry out the task, and the good thing about this team is that each one is aware of his responsibility.”
Al Hilal 1 Al Wasl 1
Shabab Al Ahli Dubai 0 Borussia Dortmund 0