Classifieds | Archives | Jobs | About TGT | Contact | Subscribe
 | 
Last updated 0 minute ago
Printer Friendly Version | TGT@Twitter | RSS Feed |
HOME LOCAL MIDEAST ASIA WORLD BUSINESS SPORT OPINION WRITERS
Zaccheroni hails team’s much-improved display
January 12, 2019
 Print    Send to Friend

Abu Dhabi: The UAE head coach Alberto Zaccheroni was grateful to be able to put his side’s opening day woes well and truly behind the host nation following Thursday’s vital 2-0 win over India at the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.

The 1996 runners-up were held to a 1-1 draw by Bahrain on opening day, a result which raised doubts as to the genuine title credentials of a side which also finished third at the last continental extravaganza in Australia.

However, goals in either half from Khalfan Mubarak and Ali Mabkhout saw the Emiratis overcome a resilient India to go top of Group A and breathe new life into their bid to reach the tournament’s Round of 16.

“I think our first game and performance against Bahrain was a rather deceiving one,” declared the Italian tactician who guided Japan to the 2011 AFC Asian Cup title.

“We were very disappointed not to get the win in that match, but against India we started very well from the beginning, and our performance was gradually evolving and getting better throughout the match.”

“We faced some difficulties at times against a very good and fast India side. Thankfully I made some changes ahead of the second half and, after the break, the team’s display was very different as we managed to enjoy better possession, we threatened more and were solid in defence.

“I congratulate my players for their efforts, they truly deserved the victory.”

The UAE’s progress is, however, still far from assured, with just one point separating them from India in second and third-placed Thailand who they will meet in their final group stage match on Monday.

Given what is at stake, there is little room for error, and Zaccheroni has admitted that he now needs to study the Southeast Asians closely in order to prepare his side fully for what is expected to be another tough test.

“We admit that our defence has not been entirely effective, but the general performance was good and winning with a great spirit was very important,” he said.

‘more success to come’

UAE midfielder Khalfan Mubarak believes win over India could well be a sign of things to come for Zaccheroni’s talented side.

Although the UAE are not assured of a place in the Round of 16 just yet, Mubarak is adamant that the victory over India will stand the Emiratis in good stead as they seek to, at least, emulate their third-place finish at the tournament’s 2015 edition in Australia.

“We are very grateful for the win, but I must say hard luck to India as they played a great game,” declared the 23-year-old Al Jazira star.

“Our first game was the competition’s opening match and I felt the players were a little nervous.

“However, scoring as we did against India has had a very positive effect on the team, one which will give us added motivation for the matches we have to come.

“We truly hope that the victory is a sign of things to come. This is absolutely the start for us.”

Over 43,000 spectators witnessed the UAE’s success at Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City Stadium, with the overwhelming majority cheering for Mubarak and his teammates – a fact not lost on a grateful Mubarak.

“The three points are, of course, the team’s, but I would like to dedicate the success to the fans, as it is they who really deserve it,” he said.

Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
Comments
 
Post a comment
 
Name:
Country:
City:
Email:
Comment:
 
    
    
Related Stories
China, S.Korea to rotate players in final group tie
Abu Dhab: Korea Republic may have Son Heung-min available but China will not let that affect their focus when the two regional rivals meet in a winner-takes-all AFC Asian..
UAE coach Zaccheroni vows better performance
Al Ain: UAE coach Alberto Zaccheroni was left demanding more as the hosts squandered their one-goal lead against Thailand in a frustrating end to their group games. Za..
Rivalry and revenge as Iran face Iraq
Dubai: One of football’s great rivalries takes centre-stage at the Asian Cup on Wednesday when Iran play Iraq still smarting from their controversial exit four years ago...
India coach quits after late heart-break
Sharjah: India coach Stephen Constantine stepped down on Monday after an injury-time Bahrain penalty floored his side 1-0 and denied the cricket-mad nation a historic spo..
Kyrgyzstan face Philippines in must-win match
Dubai: Alexander Krestinin declared his Kyrgyzstan side mentally equipped to keep their AFC Asian Cup Round of 16 hopes alive, ahead of their must-win Matchday Three tie ..
FRONTPAGE
 
GALLERY
 
PANORAMA
 
TIME OUT
 
SPORT
 
 
Advertise | Copyright