Rating the UAE through the Asian Cup group stage

The UAE will face Japan on Friday in the Asian Cup quarter-finals. The National's Ali Khaled rates the performances of the Emiratis from the group stage as they head into the knockout match.
Ali Mabkhout has scored three times in three games for the UAE in Australia. Photo Courtesy / UAE Football Association
Ali Mabkhout has scored three times in three games for the UAE in Australia. Photo Courtesy / UAE Football Association

The UAE will face Japan on Friday in the Asian Cup quarter-finals, after emerging second in Group C in Australia. The National’s Ali Khaled, covering the tournament from down under, rates the performances of the Emiratis so far.

Majed Naser, Goalkeeper, 8

Matches 3, Minutes 270

Verdict: Apart from the early mistake against Qatar, which resulted in a goal, he has dealt with everything thrown at him comfortably. Also captained the team and acted the peacemaker on one occasion.

Walid Abbas, Defender, 7

Matches 3, Minutes 270

Verdict: Has been excellent going forward, as usual, but allowed the cross from which Bahrain scored their goal in the second match. Received bookings against Qatar and Iran, which will see him miss the quarter-final against Japan.

Mohaned Salem, Defender, 8

Matches 2, Minutes 180

Verdict: Almost faultless until the last few minutes when the whole defence dropped deep and failed to step up for the winner. His control and aerial presence were missed against Bahrain when he was rested. Almost certainly will start against Japan.

Mohammed Ahmed, Defender, 7

Matches 2, Minutes 180

Verdict: Mahdi Ali’s preferred partner for Mohaned Salem played as well as the rest of the team in a nearly perfect defensive performance. Struggled only in the first half against Bahrain when the intensity of the UAE’s performance dropped after Ali Mabkhout’s early goal.

Hamdan Al Kamali, Defender, 6

Matches 2, Minutes 171

Verdict: Started the first two matches and, while the UAE won both comfortably, the few defensive mishaps were laid at his doorstep. Booked against Qatar and, against Bahrain, was beaten several times in the air by Jaycee John, once for a goal.

Abdelaziz Sanqour, Defender, 7

Matches 3, Minutes 270

Verdict: Like Abbas on the other flank, Sanqour has played every minute of the tournament and been his usual dependable self. A Mahdi Ali favourite for his versatility, equally adept as an overlapping right-back, or tucking into central defence in case of emergencies.

Amer Abdulrahman, Midfielder, 8

Matches 3, Minutes 249

Verdict: Outstanding as the team’s holding midfielder. The UAE have dominated possession across all three matches (average, 66 per cent) and the Baniyas midfielder has proven to be a calm and tactically aware player.

Khamis Ismail, Midfielder, 7

Matches 3, Minutes 270

Verdict: One of the team’s unsung heroes. Has worked tirelessly in the middle of the field to allow the front men to flourish. Started and finished every match, an indication of his value to Mahdi Ali.

Mohammed Abdulrahman, Midfielder, 7

Matches 2, Minutes 131

Verdict: Put in two strong shifts on the wing against Qatar and Bahrain, and often showed skills his brother would have been proud off. Dropped for the match against Iran to accommodate Habib Fardan and could miss out again in the quarter-final.

Habib Fardan, Midfielder, 6

Matches 3, Minutes 98

Verdict: Can only be judged on his performance against Iran, where in the first half the match seemed to pass him by. Improved in the second half but, tired in the last few minutes after his defensive exertions.

Ahmed Khalil, Midfielder, 8

Matches 3, Minutes 262

Verdict: The man for the big tournaments has once again vindicated the faith shown in him by the coach. Was superb against Qatar when he scored twice and worked back tirelessly against Iran.

Omar Abdulrahman, Midfielder, 9

Matches 3, Minutes 270

Verdict: Does not get a full 10 only because you sense he can get better. His value to his team is beyond debate and his performances in all three matches have singled him out as one of the tournament’s, and Asia’s, best players.

Ali Mabkhout, Forward, 9

Matches 3, Minutes 270

Verdict: He keeps getting better. The Gulf Cup of Nations’ top scorer is on three goals in Australia. His overall performances have confirmed him as one of the tournament’s standout players. To overcome Japan, the UAE will need him in prime form.

No rating:

Ismail Ahmed

Matches played: 1, Minutes 9

Majed Hassan

Matches 1, Minutes 21

Ismail Al Hammadi

Matches 2, Minutes played: 49

akhaled@thenational.ae

Follow us on Twitter @SprtNationalUAE

Published: January 22, 2015 04:00 AM

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