Coach Mahdi Ali says the UAE’s defeat to Saudi Arabia in Thursday’s away game in Asian 2018 World Cup qualifying is not the end of the road for their ambitions to play in the finals.
“We are only at the halfway stage in the group games. Three of our next four matches are at home. We’ll try to win them all,” the Emirati said after a 2-1 defeat in the Group A match in Jeddah, which leaves them in second place and five points adrift of the Saudis at the top of the table.
“It happens sometimes in football. A team may be going through a tough period.
“We didn’t perform as well as we wanted to. We have the second round ahead of us, and we will make up for it then.”
Mahdi Ali says he will look at ways to improve the side before their next Group A game, against East Timor on November 12.
“It is back to the drawing board,” he said. “We need to regroup and work on the areas we need to improve. And with more hard work, we can hopefully still achieve our objectives.”
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