Substitute Ahmed Khalil, on his 100th cap, netted an 88th-minute penalty kick to save lots of hosts UAE from a dropping begin to the 2019 Asian Cup against Bahrain.
After a first half of only a few chances on Sunday at Zayed Sports City, stand-in striker Mohamed Al Romaihi lashed in on the second try on 78 minutes. A shameful Group A- opening gave the impression to be on, before alternative Mohamed Marhoon’s handball was harshly punished and Khalil did the remaining to earn an unsettling 1-1 draw.
Khalil comes good
After a number of seasons to neglect, a second of pleasure for Khalil – and the grateful UAE.
The 2015 AFC Player of the Year has scored just 5 Arabian Gulf League goals since summer time 2017’s failed free switch to Al Jazira. But the Whites stored religion in a player struggling, badly, for form and health.
Under-pressure coach Alberto Zaccheroni turned to him, as an alternative of veteran Ismail Matar. A peaceful penalty straight down the center justified this call.
Bahrain are heading in the right direction
Head coach Miroslav Soukup’s rebuilding job moved just a few steps ahead on Saturday evening in Abu Dhabi.
A 3-match winless run coming into this match confirmed the worth of the youth soccer knowledgeable’s work, however this draw handed validation to the Czech’s revolution.
Progression to the knockouts for the first time since 2004 is an attainable goal.
UAE’s chickens come home to roost
Well, no-one linked to the UAE camp can credibly argue this wasn’t predictable.
Denied a treasured early breakthrough due to Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club winger Ismail Al Hammadi’s errant effort, a stodgy the rest of the match was performed out. Ali Mabkhout’s obtrusive miss got here from a poorly defended nook and the leveller was extremely lucky.
For their earlier 18 matches, Bahrain had not stored a clear sheet on the Asian Cup. A 19th ought to have adopted.
The statistics for Zaccheroni’s grim reign now reads: six wins, eight losses, 5 attracts.
Top spot is something however assured.
What could have been with Helal?
This was the damage that Bahrain most feared.
Brand-new Slavia Prague signing Abdulla Yusuf Helal – in a transfer that ought to be meals for thought for UAE reverse quantity Ali Mabkhout – missed out on the beginning XI due to damage within the final, and promising, 4-Zero pleasant beating of North Korea.
Replacement Al Romaihi scored the opener and impressed. Greedy perhaps, however think about what the standard beginning No9 would have completed to the unsure hosts?
6th min CHANCE: Al Hammadi activates the afterburners and prices into the penalty field, however his miscued shot curls agonisingly vast.
44th min CHANCE: Hearts are in mouths from the home crowd as Al Riffa midfielder Komail Al Aswad seems to select an ideal free-kick. But his effort just floats over from 20 yards.
53rd min CHANCE: Ali Madan unleashes a swerving shot from 30 yards that Club World Cup hero Khalid Essa spills to Al Romaihi, however he redeems himself with a block.
68th min CHANCE: The ball spins to 2015 Asian Cup prime scorer Ali Mabkhout. Yet someway, the predator drags his shot vast. Unbelievable.
78th min GOAL: Right-back Sayed Redha Isa floats in a cross that Al Romaihi first hits the woodwork off, by way of Khalifa Mubarak, after which slots within the opener. Stunning.
88th min PENALTY: There is confusion across the floor when the Jordanian referee factors to the penalty spot. A harsh handball is punished by Khalil. 1-1.
TACTICAL TALKING POINT
Zaccheroni reveals, belated, flexibility
Of all of the issues Zaccheroni may be accused of, it might’t be stated he wasn’t conscious of his failings.
A trio of defensively minded midfielders in Khamis Esmail (oddly stationed on the proper flank), Ali Salmeen and Amer Abdulrahman didn’t help the state of affairs. Neither the confused function of playmaker/winger Khalfan Mubarak in a 4-4-1-1.
The ex-AC Milan, Juventus and Japan supremo would flip to his bench before the hour mark and convey on link-man Mohamed Abdulrahman and winger Saif Rashed. Fellow alternative Khalil would give you the products from the penalty spot.
Plenty to ponder with India subsequent up on Thursday.
UAE – C
The phrase ‘should do higher’ outlined this soporific opener from the hosts.
Mabkhout had little to feed on, and when an opportunity arose, he snatched at it. Boss Zaccheroni has a lot work nonetheless to do.
BAHRAIN – B+
Damningly for the UAE, Bahrain didn’t must be excellent to return away with a degree.
They defended properly by the likes of Sayed Dhiya Saeed and stand-in striker Al Romaihi did the business.