Football leagues in Israel, UAE sign working agreement

Leaders of the Israeli Professional Football League and UAE Pro League signed a memorandum of understanding by video conference that includes exploring ideas for competitions between their teams. (UAE Pro League)
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Updated 27 October 2020

Football leagues in Israel, UAE sign working agreement

  • The Israeli football federation left the Asian Football Confederation in 1974 for political and security reasons
  • Israel signed diplomatic pacts with the UAE and Bahrain last month brokered by the US

ABU DHABI: Football leagues in Israel and the UAE announced a working agreement Tuesday that follows moves to normalize diplomatic relations between the countries.
Leaders of the Israeli Professional Football League and UAE Pro League signed a memorandum of understanding by video conference that includes exploring ideas for competitions between their teams.
The Israeli football federation left the Asian Football Confederation in 1974 for political and security reasons. Israel’s national and club teams have played in European competitions since the 1990s and the federation is now a member of UEFA.
Speaking about the UAE accord, Israeli league chairman Erez Halfon said “it seems that there’s more that unites us than divides us.”
Halfon cited “promotion, sports technologies and social and commercial collaborations” as future working areas.
Israel signed diplomatic pacts with the UAE and Bahrain last month brokered by the United States and sealed at a White House ceremony. Sudan became a third Arab nation to join the accord last week.
Days after the pact, Israel midfielder Dia Saba signed for UAE league club Al-Nasr.
“This is something that will attract Israeli people to the UAE,” Saba said of the agreement in a video message published by the Abu Dhabi-based league.


Yoon double puts Ulsan in last 16, Beijing stay perfect

Updated 01 December 2020

Yoon double puts Ulsan in last 16, Beijing stay perfect

  • Beijing Guoan sustain their unbeaten run, beating FC Seoul 3-1 for their fifth consecutive win in Group E

DOHA: Yoon Bit-garam struck once in each half to send Ulsan Hyundai through to the round of 16 in the Asian Champions League with a 2-1 win over FC Tokyo on Monday.

The 30-year-old's efforts ensured top position in Group F for Ulsan with 13 points from five matches, while FC Tokyo are locked in a battle for the second qualifying spot with Shanghai Shenhua.

Ulsan though were in for a massive shock immediately after kickoff when Tokyo's Kensuke Nagai scored in the first minute from a seemingly routine move on the right flank.

Shuto Abe poked the ball into the path of the advancing Nagai, who capitalized on uncertain Ulsan defending with a measured low drive that beat goalkeeper Jo Su-huk via the upright.

Although Tokyo held the lead, it was Ulsan who largely dominated the match, keeping the Tokyo defense on edge constantly.

But after several attempts at goal, the equaliser came only in the 44th minute as Yoon curled in a free-kick from 25 yards following a foul on him by Joan Oumari.

Ulsan never lost their grip on the match after the resumption and sealed the win in the 85th minute, Yoon profiting from an assist by Won Du-jae and slamming the ball past Tokyo goalkeeper Go Hatano for his fourth goal of the tournament this year.

"I'd like to congratulate our players for qualifying for the next round. I am so happy," said Ulsan Hyundai coach Kim Do-hoon.

"We conceded an early goal and tried to recover it as quickly as possible, which was a good point for us. We fought as one team."

Meanwhile, form team Beijing Guoan maintained their unbeaten run at this year's competition with their fifth consecutive win in Group E, easing past FC Seoul 3-1.

Beijing had already qualified with two matches to spare, but didn't take their foot off the pedal on Monday as goals from Jonathan Viera and Renato Augusto gave them a 2-0 advantage at half time.

Yun Ju-tae pulled one back for Seoul in the 89th minute but Zhang Yuning put the issue beyond doubt for Bruno Genesio's men with a stoppage-time effort.

"Today's match, before the game, I asked the players to play with a serious attitude and respect the opponents," said Genesio.

"We played well and we knew we had to fight hard and score goals. Even after we conceded (late in the second half), we responded by scoring again."

Seoul coach Lee Won-jun was despondent after his team fell nine points behind Beijing, although they are still in second place.

"After the defeat to Beijing in the first match I told the players to play without pressure, which they did today," said Lee. "But they also committed some mistakes and we were punished by three goals."