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Hammadi nets winner for UAE
Hisham Al Gizouli / 30 June 2012
A brilliant 38th minute strike by Al Ahli winger Ismail Al Hammadi earned UAE Olympic national team a narrow 1-0 victory over hosts FC Sion in a friendly match at the St. Germain Stadium in Savvis, Switzerland, on Thursday. It was the first friendly for the Whites on their current Swiss tour.
Al Hammadi took advantage of the Sion’s keeper deflection to put his side in the lead with a lovely finish.
UAE head coach Mahdi Ali who is hoping for more consistency from the team made seven changes in the second period to try as many players as possible. The strategy is to arrive at the ideal formation that can be used at the 2012 London Games which will get under way on July 27.
Ali started the match with keeper Ali Khusaif, defenders Hamdan Al Kamali, Mohammed Ahmed, Abdul Azia Sanqoor and Abdul Aziz Haikal; midfielders Amer Abdul Rahman, Mohammed Fawzi, Ismail Al Hammadi and Omer Abdul Rahman; strikers Ahmed Khalil and Ahmed Ali.
After the break, Ali sent Habib Al Fardan, Khamis Ismail, Ismail Matar, Rashid Essa, Ali Mabkhout, Haboush Saleh and Khaled Essa in to replace Amer Abdul Rahman, Mohammed Fawzi, Ahmed Ali, Ismail Al Hammadi, Ahmed Khalil, Omer Abdul Rahman and Ali Khusaif respectively.
After a slow start in the first half, the UAE lads began to gain mare confidence as the youngsters began to find their strides. The UAE’s control of the midfield helped them build some courageous moves before Al Hammadi hit the back of the net to make it 1-0 in the 38th minute of the first half.
Ahmed Khalil had every chance to double the score-line without much success in the final touch. Khalil tackled two of the European defenders but didn’t find the target with the keeper only to beat.
Few minutes before the interval, the Swiss posed a real threat with a long range shot brilliantly saved by Ali Khusaif into a corner.
Meanwhile, the Swiss showed great determination to make things happen in the second half. Backed by few of their enthusiastic fans at the small venue, the aggressive hosts put the UAE defenders under strong pressure, but the UAE lads put up a brave fight and blocked the moves of the hungry Sion’s strikers to defend their narrow advantage very strongly. The Hamadan Al Kamali-led defence line successfully dismantled the attacks of the more experienced opponents.
In the meantime, the UAE football ace Ismail Matar who was sent in in the second half proved his worth. Matar played deep behind the two spearheads and created two golden opportunities for Ali Mabkhout who was unlucky not to strike.
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