UAE Coach Zaccheroni Faces a Salvation Job Against Laos

UAE Coach Zaccheroni Faces a Salvation Job Against Laos
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Published September 10th, 2018 - 17:49 GMT via

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Rumors abound that Italian could be replaced ahead of Asian Cup following Trinidad defeat
Rumors abound that Italian could be replaced ahead of Asian Cup following Trinidad defeat

The UAE’s lacklustre 2-0 friendly defeat to Trinidad and Tobago in Girona, Spain, last Thursday, has sparked rumours that Italian coach Alberto Zaccheroni could be for the chop with less than four months to go ahead of January’s all-important Asian Cup hosting. Here’s what the 2011 Asian Cup-winning former Japan coach must do if he’s to salvage the situation against Laos on Tuesday from 8pm UAE time.


This might sound obvious, but the former Lazio, Juventus, Inter and AC Milan boss hasn’t won a match in his last five. This unfortunate run started with January’s Gulf Cup final defeat on penalties to Oman. It continued against Slovakia and Gabon at the King’s Cup in Thailand in March, and has ended with a draw and a defeat in respective friendlies against Andorra and Trinidad while on camp in Austria and Spain over August and September. All of these teams, with the exception of Slovakia, are ranked below the UAE. Laos, ranked 178th, 101 places below the UAE, represent the weakest of their opponents so far and should therefore be easily beaten. From a total of 11 games since taking charge last October, Zaccheroni has won three, drawn three and lost five, leaving him with a win rate of just 27 per cent.

Score goals

Zaccheroni’s UAE side have scored just three goals in 11 games and never more than one in a game. I hasten to add that’s within regulation play and therefore not including the two penalty shoot-outs they were involved in during the Gulf Cup in the semi-final against Iraq and the final against Oman. If you look at that Gulf Cup run, they were able to get all the way to the final after scoring just one goal in normal time throughout the whole competition and even that was a penalty against Oman in their opening group game. Their goal average of one every three-and-a-half games is a worry indeed, especially with their Asian Cup hosting coming up. The last time they played Laos in June of last year, the UAE won 4-0. If they can’t replicate that now it could spell trouble for Zaccheroni.

Endear himself

Two of the UAE’s best players Ali Mabkhout and Omar Abdul Rahman were punished for leaving their hotel after curfew the night before the Gulf Cup final defeat to Oman in January. While this showed that Zaccheroni was in charge, to then leave them out of the King’s Cup in March may have given a mixed message, even if it was a competition to try out new players. What Zaccheroni needs to do now after a big win over Laos is perhaps praise their efforts a bit more and say how important they will be for the Asian Cup. Some acknowledgement as to how unacceptable this recent run and lack of goals has been, with a view to drawing a line through it and going forward, might also get the fans back on side.

Zaccheroni’s results so far

UAE 0-1 Haiti, friendly, November 11, 2017

UAE 1-0 Uzbekistan, friendly, November 14, 2017

Oman 0-1 UAE, Gulf Cup, December 22, 2017

UAE 0-0 Saudi Arabia, Gulf Cup, December 25, 2017

Kuwait 0-0 UAE, Gulf Cup, December 28, 2017

Iraq 0-0p UAE, Gulf Cup January 2, 2018

Oman p0-0 UAE, Gulf Cup January 5, 2018

Slovakia 2-1 UAE, King’s Cup, March 22, 2018

UAE 0-1 Gabon, King’s Cup, March 25, 2018

Andorra 0-0 UAE, friendly, August 18, 2018

Trinidad and Tobago 2-0 UAE, friendly, September 6, 2018

By Ashley Hammond

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