UAE SHOW ‘REAL CHAR­AC­TER’ TO BEAT ITALY AND KEEP HOPES ALIVE

▶ In­ter­con­ti­nen­tal Cup hosts take third spot with ex­tra-time win af­ter two games in Group A

The National - News - - SPORT - AMITH PASSELA

The UAE were back on track in the In­ter­con­ti­nen­tal Beach Soc­cer Cup af­ter knock­ing out Italy 6-4 in ex­tra time at Kite Beach in Dubai yes­ter­day.

The hosts raced into a 3-0 lead only for Italy to clawed level at 4-4 to take the game into added time, dur­ing which the home side found the net twice to seal vic­tory. The ex­tra-time win gave the UAE two points to take third spot af­ter two games in Group A be­hind Spain (4) and Ja­pan (3).

Win­ners in reg­u­la­tion time re­ceive the full three points, while two points are awarded for a win in ex­tra time and one in a penalty shootout.

“It was a must-win game for us and we are very glad we achieved the re­sult we wanted,” said the UAE man­ager Mo­hamed Ab­bas Al Maazmi.

“We had to go through tense mo­ments in both games. We lost the first game in a penalty shootout [against Spain] and we won this game in ex­tra time.

“Hats off to my boys. They showed real char­ac­ter to win this game for us. We could have won the full three points against Italy but still two is bet­ter than none.

“We were a bit un­lucky in the first game but tonight we were the bet­ter team.”

The UAE still need to win their fi­nal group game against Ja­pan to book their place in the semi-fi­nals.

They are meet­ing for the sec­ond time in eight months af­ter the Asian Beach Soc­cer fi­nal, which Ja­pan won in a penalty shootout af­ter a 2-2 dead­lock in Thai­land.

“It will be an­other fi­nal against Ja­pan,” Al Maazmi said. “We have the mo­men­tum with us af­ter the sec­ond day’s games, and of course, we want to go out there and win to­mor­row.”

Ja­pan, who were vic­to­ri­ous over Italy on Day 1, went down 3-2 to Spain in their sec­ond game. Ahmed Beshr and Walid Mo­hammed found the net for the UAE to take a 2-0 lead over Italy in the first pe­riod.

Ka­mal Ali added a third early in the sec­ond pe­riod be­fore Italy struck twice through Dario Ra­mac­ciotti and Marco Gior­dani to close the gap. Ali Mo­hammed added a fourth for the UAE for a 4-2 lead at the end of the sec­ond pe­riod.

Per­cia Mon­tani then scored twice to level the score and force the game into ex­tra time. Beshr re­gained the lead with a minute left on added time be­fore Ali Mo­hammed rounded off the win for the host.

Spain man­aged to hold on to their lead un­til the fi­nal whis­tle to over­take Ja­pan in the group.

Ja­pan de­feated Italy on the open­ing night, and it was Ruy Ramos’ men who struck first against Spain.

Mat­suda Ko­suke ri­fled in an over­head from close-range mid­way through the open­ing pe­riod, but Sal­vadore Ardil burst down the left flank to slot a low effort home, lev­el­ing up just be­fore the break.

The game went into the fi­nal pe­riod with the sides still tensely tied but a cool Javi Tor­res fin­ish fi­nally broke the dead­lock. Min­utes later David Ardil joined his brother Sal­vador on the score­sheet, vol­ley­ing in from in­side the box to make it three.

A late surge from Ja­pan saw Oba Takaaki fire his third of the tour­na­ment, but it was noth­ing more than a con­so­la­tion as Spain held on to their slim lead.

Mean­while, Rus­sia and Iran reached the last four stage from Group B af­ter vic­to­ries over Mexico 3-1 and Egypt 5-3, re­spec­tively.

We were a bit un­lucky in the first game but tonight we were the bet­ter team. We could have won full three points, but two is bet­ter than none MO­HAMMED AB­BAS AL MAAZMI UAE man­ager

beach­soc­cer.com

Ka­mal Ali, right, and Haitham Al Kaabi cel­e­brate UAE’s win over Italy

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