UAE’s 20-match unbeaten run ended by Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s Armenia
Ahmed 40’, Abdulrahman 52’, Salem 85’
Armenia Armenia Hambardzumyan 37’, Mkhitaryan 42’, 63’, Hovsepyan 71’
Man of the match Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Armenia)
UAE coach Mahdi Ali and his men went on a run of 20 games without a defeat that stretched back to September 11, 2012, but Armenia ended that streak last night in a friendly international in Geneva, Switzerland.
The UAE can still take a lot of positives as they rallied twice to level the score before going down 4-3 against a team listed 34 places above them in the Fifa world rankings.
Mahdi Ali’s men regrouped for their first game in nearly three months and it showed as they looked a shade slower than Armenia, yet they kept the game alive for the full 90 minutes.
Armenia came closest to opening the scoring when Gevorg Ghazaryan’s shot hit the bottom of the post in the 17th minute.
Hovhannes Hambardzumyan then put Armenia ahead and Henrikh Mkhitaryan regained the lead after Ismail Ahmed had equalised off an Omar Abdulrahman corner as three goals were scored in a five-minute span early in the second half.
Abdulrahman cancelled Armenia’s lead seven minutes after the break when he sent a short cross from Ali Mabkhout to the bottom corner of the net.
Armenia regained the lead from Mkhitaryan’s second goal and they extended the lead to two when Rumyan Hovsepyan headed in a corner. Muhanad Salem pulled one back five minutes from time but that was as close as the UAE would get.
Armenia seized the opportunity to go ahead when Hamdan Al Kamali was receiving treatment off the pitch to score from an excellent move.
Hambardzumyan exchanged passes with Yura Movsisyan to score from inside the penalty area but the lead was short lived as Ahmed rose above the Armenia defence to head in the equaliser.
Movsisyan then worked down the right flank to set up Mkhitaryan inside the box to get back their one-goal cushion lead with a first time shot.
Al Kamali looked to have injured a knee as he made a sliding clearance. He was later replaced by Salem, the Al Ain centre-back.
The UAE went on the offensive and created a few chances. Mabkhout had an excellent chance to put the UAE ahead after just over a minute of play.
Ahmed Khalil set up the Al Jazira forward in front of the goal but his effort was smothered by Gevorg Kasparov, the Armenia goalkeeper. Mabkhout was also wide with a second effort.
The UAE play Georgia in their next friendly on the final day of their camp in Switzerland on June 3.
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Published: May 28, 2014 04:00 AM