The UAE went down to Japan 6-4 in a thrilling match at the 10th Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup at Kite Beach on Friday.
Japan, the 2021 Fifa World Beach Soccer Cup runners-up, raced into a 2-0 lead courtesy Masanori Okuyama and Takaki Oba in the first period.
Abbas Daryaei staged a comeback for the hosts with a spectacular free-kick from distance, and then Waleed Beshr put away a second for the UAE to level in the second period.
Tsukasa Matsuoka and Takuya Akaguma regained Japan’s two-goal cushion early in the third period, and when it seemed that would be enough to win the match, Ali Mohammdi converted a late penalty and Hasan Al Hamadi bundled the ball over the line in a frantic tussle to equalise with minutes left.
However, a second from Oba and a brilliantly worked team effort saw Hayate Tanaka hit his first of the campaign to wrap up the game for Japan 6-4 in the play-off for fifth.
“It was another tough game against Japan and another narrow defeat,” the UAE defender Waleed Beshr said.
“It is fair to say we are playing against some of the best teams in the world and we can take a lot of positives with the two wins against Spain and Senegal, and although losing to Portugal and Japan.
“We still have a game to play against Paraguay and we want to win that game and finish the competition on a high.”
The Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup final will be contested by Russia and Iran after the former outclassed European champions Portugal 7-4 and the latter defeated African champions Senegal 7-5.
Russia edged out Iran 4-3 in the group phase.
The UAE meet Paraguay in the play-off for seventh, Japan face Spain for fifth and Portugal takes on Senegal for the third spot.
3pm: Paraguay v UAE (7th place)
4.15pm: Spain v Japan (5th place)
5.45pm: Portugal v Senegal (3rd place)
7pm: Russia v Iran (Final)