UAE prepare for 2022 World Cup qualifiers by thrashing Jordan in friendly

Al Jazira striker Ali Mabkhout scores a hat-trick in 5-1 win at Rashid Stadium

The UAE warmed up for the upcoming 2022 World Cup qualifiers with a 5-1 victory in a friendly against Jordan in Dubai on Monday night.

The national team, preparing for the resumption of their Group G campaign against Malaysia on June 3, ran out comfortable winners at the Rashid Stadium, with Ali Mabkhout grabbing a hat-trick.

The Al Jazira striker, fresh from firing his club to the 2020/21 Arabian Gulf League title, scored twice in the opening 45 minutes, with Khalil Ibrahim notching the third to give the hosts a 3-0 lead in the first half.

Mabkhout, the UAE's all-time record goalscorer, secured his hat-trick not long after the break, before Jordan pulled one back through Odai Al Saify. It was left then to Caio Canedo to complete the home side's victory, when the Brazil-born Al Ain forward scored his side’s fifth late on.

The UAE’s focus now turns to next week’s Group G restart, with the national team currently fourth in the standings, five points off leaders Vietnam. However, Bert van Marwijk's men have a game in hand over the other teams in the group. Only the top side are guaranteed to advance to the third round of qualification, together with the four best runners-up from the eight groups.

After Malaysia, the UAE face Thailand on June 7, Indonesia four days later and then wrap up against Vietnam on June 15. All Group G matches take place in Dubai following the Asian Football Confederation’s decision for the postponed qualifiers to be staged at centralised hub venues.

Jordan, meanwhile, resume their qualification campaign against Nepal in Kuwait on June 7. They are third in Group B, level on points with second-placed Kuwait and two behind Australia.

Updated: May 25, 2021 07:30 PM

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