UAE hold Gabon
DUBAI - The UAE Olympic national team held African U-23 champions Gabon to a 1-1 draw in a friendly in Linz, Austria on Sunday.
Gabon lifted the African U-23 Cup in Morocco and qualified for the Olympics along with runners-up Morocco, third placed Egypt and fourth placed Senegal who made the grade to London after a playoff with Asian zone best zonal third place finisher, Oman. The UAE are in Group A of the London Olympics in the company of Great Britain, Uruguay and Senegal.
However, the referee turned a blind eye to the objections of the UAE players against the equaliser. The Boys in White argued that the Africans did not show a spirit of fair play when Ahmed Al Kamali was brought down and was injured. Instead of kicking the ball out, they (Gabon), according to the UAE lads, went on to level the result.
UAE head coach Mahdi Ali started the game against Gabon with keeper Ali Khusaif, Hamdan Al Kamali, Mohammed Ahmed, Abdul Aziz Haikal, Abdul Aziz Sanqoor, Khamis Ismail, Amer Abdul Rahman, Ismail Al Hammadi, Omer Abdul Rahman, Ismail Matar and Ahmed Ali. Rashid Essa replaced Al Hammadi, Saad Suroor substituted Hamdan Al Kamali and Habib Al Fardan.
Gambian coach Claude Albert retaliated with a similar move after his team were 0-1 down by sending in Anthony Mirza, Samson and Mai Dong to take the places of Nick Mondonga, Romald Ntestigo and Alain Dorian.
All in all, the test was useful according to Ali who was delighted to see his players dominating the match and create many scoring opportunities. Ali noticed that, Gabon represents a very good test for the players before they face Senegal in the final round of the Games.
The UAE lads lived up to the challenge and they were as accurate as they could be in passing and intercepting besides they were physically able to counter their well-built opponents.