2018 World Cup qualifier: Timor-Leste 0-1 UAE

2018 World Cup qualifier: Timor-Leste 0-1 UAE
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Published June 17th, 2015 - 02:14 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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Omar Abdul Rahman
Omar Abdul Rahman

Omar Abdul Rahman’s wonder shot handed the UAE a narrow 1-0 win over Timor-Leste in an otherwise uneventful opening 2018 World Cup qualifier at the Shah Alam Stadium on Tuesday.

With the game played out at training-match pace in front of an empty 80,000 seater stadium, it looked as if it would end goalless until Omar turned and shot on a six-pence to end the deadlock on 80 minutes.

The UAE had otherwise struggled to make an impact in oppressively hot and humid conditions in Malaysia, where they played with three changes from their 3-0 friendly defeat to South Korea on Thursday.

Timor-Leste who had made no changes to their starting line-up from their 1-1 opening World Cup draw against Malaysia on Thursday, had seemed destined to pull off another upset by gaining another point against a team ranked 73 positions above them in the world rankings. But it wasn’t meant to be.

The UAE got off to a nervy and uncontrolled start allowing Patrick Fabiano to first hit the side netting and then strike fractionally wide from two early chances.

Omar Abdul Rahman had seen his free-kick cleared off the line and an Omar cross intended for Ahmad Khalil was deflected back to Esmail Al Hammadi who skied the ball over the bar, as the UAE failed to get their act together in the final third.

Ali Mabkhout had attempted a lob, which grazed just over and Mohammad Ahmad headed wide from Omar’s corner, as frustrations mounted.

The best chance in the first half fell to Timor-Leste when a mix up in defence from Mohammad Ahmad allowed Jairo Pinheiro to fire in a free shot from just inside the area. But keeper Khaled Eisa reacted well to stop the effort, which seemed bound for the bottom corner.

Timor-Leste continued to scare with Rodrigo Sousa striking just wide from a long shot before the interval, as the UAE were sent back to their dressing room with plenty to think about.

The second half didn’t start much better with Mabkhout and Khalil both hitting over, before a double substitution from Mahdi Ali saw Mohammad Abdul Rahman replace Amer Abdul Rahman and Al Hammadi come off for Saeed Al Kathiri before the hour.

Ali’s changes sparked a glimmer of hope as Al Kathiri headed Omar’s cross just over and Mohammad Abdul Rahman chested down a spilled chip in only to blast wide, as the tempo increased marginally.

And the deadlock was finally broken on 80 minutes when Abdul Aziz Al Sanqour found Omar Abdul Rahman in space, who turned and shot into the top right hand corner from distance catching the keeper unawares.

After that anomalous moment of brilliance, tedium was restored in much the same fashion as it had reigned throughout the game, until the final whistle blew mercifully.

© Al Nisr Publishing LLC 2015. All rights reserved.

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