The UAE have set their sights on three points against Syria in Jordan on Tuesday as they make a final push to qualify for the Qatar 2022 World Cup next year.
Bert van Marwijk’s men were held to a 0-0 draw against Lebanon but can surge back into contention if they defeat the Syrians on neutral territory.
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Bandar Al Ahbabi, the UAE defender who ensured they kept a clean sheet in their Group A opener has already dismissed the Lebanon hiccup and is fully confident of three points against Syria, to potentially top a section that also includes South Korea, Iraq and Iran.
Syria went down 1-0 to Iran on their opening match while South Korea were held to a draw with Iraq, meaning the group is wide open.
The top two book a spot in Qatar at the showpiece event, while the third-placed team will enter a play-off.
“Our confidence in ourselves is great and was not affected at all by the Lebanon match,” Al Ahbabi said. “What happened against Lebanon is in the past — we think about it only to learn from its lessons.
“Everyone has shifted focus to the next match against Syria. We have sufficient experience to deal with all circumstances and overcome all challenges, and will give everything we have to come up with a positive result that improves our position in the group.
“We realise that the task is not easy, but we are determined to achieve the best possible result.”
The UAE midfielder Ali Salmeen added: “We played only one match and we have nine matches left. There are 27 points still to play for on the pitch. We have to fight to reap what we can from them to enhance our chances of reaching the World Cup.”