The UAE’s World Cup hopes lay in tatters after they lost 2-0 away to Australia in Sydney on Tuesday.
Jackson Irvine’s header from a corner deflected in by Abdul Aziz Al Sanqoor put the hosts ahead on six minutes, and Mathew Leckie added another from an almost identical nodded-down corner 12 minutes before the end.
The defeat allowed third-place Australia to increase their lead over fourth-placed UAE to four points, with three games remaining.
Only the top two in the group automatically progress to next summer’s World Cup in Russia, while the third-place side goes into a cross continental play-off.
It followed the UAE’s 2-0 defeat at home to second-placed Japan last week, but even with five changes to the squad that faced the Blue Samarai, The Whites couldn’t make a mark against the Socceroos.
With this win Australia ended a run of four draws to put the spark back into their qualifying campaign.
Australia opened the scoring on six minutes when James Troisi’s corner headed in by Irvine came off Al Sanqoor standing on the line, and bobbled in at the back post.
Mathew Leckie also got onto the end of a Bradley Smith’s diagonal pass across goal soon after, but his effort hit the side-netting.
The UAE’s best chance came when Omar Abdul Rahman’s freekick was plucked out of the top corner by keeper Matthew Ryan.
Up until that point Ali Mabkhout had been thread through on goal twice both before and after the goal, but to no avail.
Mohammad Abdul Rahman came on for Tariq Ahmad before the break as the UAE looked to work their way back into the game.
Australia started the second half just as brightly as the first, when another Troisi corner headed in by Irvine, and tapped in at the back post by Miles Jedinak, was kept out by keeper Ali Khaseif.
Ahmad Khalil came off for Eisa Ahmad soon after as the UAE went in search of an equaliser and Omar was kept out from more Ryan heroics soon after.
The death knell fell on 78 minutes however, when another Troisi corner was headed-in at the near post by Leckie, bouncing down and in on the line to as good as ruin the UAE’s World Cup chances.
© Al Nisr Publishing LLC 2022. All rights reserved.