Muscat Daily

Experience will help UAE against Tajikistan, says Al Hashemi


Past encounters against central Asian teams will help the United Arab Emirates find solutions against their Asian Cup last 16 opponents Tajikistan, according to defender Khalid Al Hashemi.

In the 14 months leading up to the tournament, the UAE played friendly matches against Central Asian sides Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. They also faced Kazakhstan.

“It is an important match in the Round of 16, no team reaches this stage if they were an easy team to face,” said Al Hashemi.

“Most of our friendly matches were similar teams, so we know their style and we know what to expect. We know they can be physical and tough to challenge.

The friendlies help us a lot in preparing for how to play and how to get the win on the pitch.

“We have to remain focused, follow the coach’s instructio­ns and hopefully we can get the result.” Back in 2019, the Whites faced another debutant side from central Asia in the Round of 16; the clash against Kyrgyzstan at Zayed Sports City proved to be a hard-fought battle, with the Emiratis needing an extra-time goal from an Ahmed Khalil penalty to win it after the 90 minutes ended 2-2. The UAE went on to reach the semi-finals.

With Tajikistan the next opponents at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium on Sunday, Al Hashemi drew parallels with the previous tournament which he watched as a supporter, with his internatio­nal debut only arriving three years later.

“It was a good tournament which made us proud as Emiratis in 2019. “In these tournament­s, it is always about winning and qualifying, rather than performanc­e. You could play the best game in your history and still not win, so it will not matter. You can play a game that doesn’t look great but you get that important result. For us, what matters the most is to win.

“There have been some mistakes in previous matches which we are looking to avoid and working on that in training. You see things on the pitch and the analysis from the coach helps us a lot.”

 ?? ?? Khalid Al Hashemi
Khalid Al Hashemi

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