(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The UAE fought hard but lost 1-0 to Haiti in a friendly match at Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain on Friday. Significantly, this was the first assignment for new coach Alberto Zaccheroni and would have given him an ample idea about work to be done in defence.
After the initial moments taken to settle down, both teams played some sublime football. Teams went forward looking for gaps to find a way to score.
The UAE had the first attempt on goal. It was a three-pass try with Omar Abdulrahman finding Ahmed Al Hashmi, who set it up for Amer Abdulrahman but the final delivery lacked bite.
Minutes later the Haitians made the home side pay dearly for the missed chance.
It was a crafty goal orchestrated by Derrick Etienne, who waded past at least five players to find Kevin Lafrance, who passed onto striker Duckens Nazon in the box. The Coventry City striker's ripper rebounded from the woodwork to hit Mahmoud Khamees and back into the goal as keeper Khalid Eisa stood helpless.
Following the strike, the UAE responded with vigour. There were long-range posers from Mahmoud Khamees and 'Amoory' but Haiti defence and keeper Johny Placide were up to the task.
Both teams had set a tight defence and worked offside traps well. There were no more goals in the half. After the break, the UAE started with a blitz but were unlucky.
Mohanad Salem had a powerful header crash into the post. Later Khamis Esmaeel's volley struck the woodwork. Omar tested Haiti goal with a curling free kick. And at the stroke of an hour, his shot rebounded from the post.
A 64-minute effort encapsulated the UAE's unlucky outing. A rampaging Walid Abbas had a decent shot blocked by keeper and the rebound fell onto Omar's leg but the talisman couldn't find target from inside the box. The UAE maintained pressure, were consistent but Haiti defence and timber denied an equaliser.
At the other end, an alert Khalid Eisa kept a goal-bound shot. The UAE had to change the trend and introduction of young Khalfan Mubarak and Tariq Ahmed spiced up the mix. And in the dying minutes, Khamees almost made amends with a thunderous long-ranger but the ball whizzed past the right post. There were more chances, long and close, and a last-minute header from Mohanad Salem too but there was no equaliser.
The UAE kept knocking on the door and even tried to break in but were denied by Haiti defence, keeper and skipper Placide and resolute woodwork. The UAE next play Uzbekistan on Tuesday.
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