The UAE ended Senegal’s unbeaten run yet they fell short of reaching the last four stage of the 10th Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup Dubai at Kite Beach on Thursday.
The African champions went into their final group match as leaders, and swiftly built a 2-0 lead in the first period.
UAE pulled one back through Waleed Beshr in the final minute of the opening period and were level through a bicycle kick from Ahmed Beshr. He then scored again to see the hosts go into the final period with a lead.
They still needed another goal to seal their place in the semi-finals and they pushed hard, but in the process, gave away a free kick, which the prolific Diatta smashed home.
The final passage of normal time was a frantic rush by the hosts, but the minutes ticked away and the powerful defenders of Senegal held firm, seeing the game safely into extra time where UAE held no chance of making the final four.
After the disappointment of missing out on qualification, the UAE saw out the added three minutes and scored all five penalties to take a point from group toppers. As a result, Senegal and Portugal, who beat Spain 7-4 earlier, topped Group A.
“We did our best to win two games yet it wasn’t good enough to take us into the semi-finals,” Walid said.
“One thing we can take some comfort from is that our game was at a good level in this competition. These are some of the best teams in the world. We face Japan for fifth spot. We are happy with the team’s performance.”
The UAE will play Japan, the 2021 Fifa World Beach Soccer Cup runners-up, in the play-off for fifth spot.
Russia, the 2021 Fifa World Beach Soccer Cup champions, edged out Iran 4-3 to top Group B and they will meet Portugal in the first semi-final while Iran meet Senegal in the other.
4pm: Paraguay v Spain
5.25pm: UAE v Japan
6.45pm: Russia v Portugal
8pm: Senegal v Iran