UAE send Australia crashing out of Asian Cup

United Arab Emirates’ defender Ismail Ahmed, left, and midfielder Majed Hassan after their victory over Australia at Hazaa bin Zayed Stadium, in Al-Ain. (AFP)
Updated 25 January 2019
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UAE send Australia crashing out of Asian Cup

  • Ali Mabkhout poached a 1-0 win for UAE over Australia to set up a semifinal with Gulf rivals Qatar
  • Degenek, who this week signed for Saudi giants Al Hilal, rolled a casual ball to Ryan but Mabkhout nipped in and rounded the ‘keeper before scoring into an empty net

AL-AIN, United Arab Emirates: Asian Cup hosts UAE sent defending champions Australia crashing out in the quarter-finals on Friday.

Ali Mabkhout poached a 1-0 win for UAE over Australia to set up a semifinal with Gulf rivals Qatar.

Milos Degenek’s defensive mistake allowed UAE sharpshooter Mabkhout to pounce for a win that was greeted by joyous drumming and a sea of smartphone torches at a packed Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain.

Japan and Iran, with seven Asian Cup titles between them, will play the other semi as the 24-team continental showpiece nears its final in Abu Dhabi on February 1.

Graham Arnold’s Australia will feel aggrieved by their defeat after having the best of it against UAE, only to be undone by a single defensive error on 68 minutes.

Degenek, who this week signed for Saudi giants Al Hilal, rolled a casual ball to Ryan but Mabkhout nipped in and rounded the ‘keeper before scoring into an empty net.

Trent Sainsbury flashed a header over as Australia proved an early threat but UAE were also looking sharper than their previous games.

Mabkhout nearly connected with a header with the goal at his mercy, and Ismail Al-Hammadi forced a reaction save from Mat Ryan when one-on-one with the Brighton goalkeeper.

Apostolos Giannou saw a shot palmed away as Australia finished the first half strongly, but Mabkhout was inches away when his header just cleared the bar.

The second half was one-way traffic as Degenek and Jackson Irvine went close with headers, and Giannou had the ball in the net but the goal was chalked off for offside.

All Australia needed was a goal and there was disbelief when it went the other way as Mabkhout, a peripheral figure for most of the half, pounced on Degenek’s misplaced back pass.

Mabkhout’s ninth Asian Cup goal put him joint third in the all-time top-scorers list, alongside Japan’s Naohiro Takahara and behind only South Korea’s Lee Dong-gook with 10 and Iranian legend Ali Daei’s 14.


Arsenal end Dubai break with 3-2 win over Al-Nasr

Updated 50 min 24 sec ago
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Arsenal end Dubai break with 3-2 win over Al-Nasr

  • Gunners play Lacazette and Ozil as they beat Dubai hosts in friendly.

LONDON: Al-Nasr gave it a good go but ultimately they were outclassed by an Arsenal side not light on experience, as the Londoners beat their Dubai hosts 3-2 at the Al-Maktoum Stadium.
The match wrapped up Unai Emery’s side’s mid-season training camp and provided a big-match opening for the refurbished stadium.

Lacazette​ was one of a number of big-name players to take the field for the North Londoners. (Reuters) 


It would have been all too easy and understandable if the Gunners had rested their big names. But the Spanish boss played as strong as side as he could with both Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette playing over an hour.
Despite the impressive line-up Arsenal, however, were the ones who fell behind — Ronnie Fernandez hitting a brilliant shot from outside the area to stun the visitors and Petr Cech in the Gunners goal. It was no more than the hosts deserved having looked the livelier of the teams in the opening exchanges.

Ronie Fernandez fired in an excellent opener for Al-Nasr to give the hosts an unexpected lead. (Reuters) 


The lead was not to last long, though, as Denis Suarez, on loan from Barcelona, set up Carl Jenkinson to level the scores with the break approaching.
Emery, as expected, made five changes at half-time with Ozil and Lacazette staying on the pitch to combine for Arsenal’s second — the German teeing up the French striker with an exquisite pass to make the score 2-1.

The refurbished Al-Maktoum Stadium looked in fine shape for the big match. (Reuters) 


That then became 3-1 when teenager Tyreece John-Jules rounded the keeper before slotting home.
Al-Nasr had looked good throughout the clash and their last-minute consolation — a Khaled Jasal penalty — was no more than they deserved.

Exciting young gun Tyreece John-Jules scores the winner in a memorable match for the 18-year-old. (Reuters) 


For Arsenal the focus returns to the Premier League where they are battling it out with Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United for a spot in the top four.

Al-Nasr's Khaled Jasal slots home the consolation penalty for the hosts to make it 3-2. (Reuters)