UAE coach lauds team, but warns against complacency in next game
UAE coach Bert Van Marwijk was full of adulation for his side’s steely resolve after a victory against Thailand in their joint 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asia Cup qualifier match on Monday.
The UAE took a step forward towards their qualification for the showpiece event after notching up a second straight win in a second leg match of the qualifiers in Dubai.
The UAE needed to win all their four remaining matches to progress to the next round which looked very difficult before the start of the tourney.
But with two consecutive wins, the picture looks rosier now and the target within reach. The Whites had defeated Malaysia 4-0 in the opening match.
Ali Ahmed Mabkhout and Fabio Lima both had scored a brace each as they got the UAE campaign off to a winning start.
After the victory in the second match, the UAE consolidated their position in the second spot as the leaders Vietnam kept their stranglehold on the top of Group G with a 4-0 rout of Indonesia in the other match of the day.
Only the winners and the four best runners-up will automatically advance to the next round. Van Marwijk expressed his delight after a convincing victory.
The Brazilian duo of Caio Canedo and Fabio Lima were on target and substitute Mohammad Juma Eid added one more in the dying moments as the UAE defeated 3-1 Thailand.
“It was a very tough match against a strong opponents. I think they had analysed us very well and started pressing us from the beginning.
“But once we started to play our own game, we turned the heat on them and mounted pressure on our opponents,” Van Marwijk said.
He also conceded that he was not satisfied with many parts of the match where they missed quite a few chances to score.
“I am not hundred per cent satisfied with today’s performance as we spurned a lot of chances. The score line could have been 4-1, 5-1 or even more.
“But despite creating chances, we failed to convert them into goals. However, we could have achieved three points,” he added.
The first half ended with the UAE 2-0 but Thailand curtailed the lead to 2-1 soon after the break as they pulled one back through Suphanat Mueanta.
The UAE then missed a host of chances to extend the lead as Thailand came close to salvage a draw before substitute Juma Eid all but ended the visitor’s hopes of a comeback.
“In the second half, Thailand scored a goal to make it more difficult for us. But we could pull it back in time because of the timely substitution.
“After making few changes we got back the control of the game and our players showed a great deal of character and perseverance to return with three points,” he added.
“This is the first game we had some problems. So far all the games went quite well, everything was right. When it was 2-0, it was OK, but when it became 2-1, that was the first time for this team now that they got the experience, what will they do.
“They responded to the situation very well. This is an important moment also for the team. They got to experience a new situation. Now they are familiar with these kinds of situations,” he explained.
But the Dutch once again reiterated that they need to win everything to advance to the next round and ruled out any kind of complacency in the remaining matches.
“I had said in the beginning that we need to win everything. We are still not there. We will not take anything for granted. And that is why we are here and we are working for.
“My focus is on the Indonesia match. It is as important as any other game of the tournament. We will not take them lightly,” he apprised.
Indonesia are at the bottom of the group. They were defeated by leaders Vietnam 4-0 in another match of the day in Dubai. The UAE had also beaten them in the first leg of the qualifiers.
The real challenge is likely to be against Vietnam, who are leading the group with 15 points. They will play Malaysia next on June 11.UAE Football