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