Oman up first for the UAE at U23 Gulf Cup

UAE warm up with 2-0 win over Qatar as they prepare to defend Under 23 Gulf Cup crown.

The Olympic team will open their defence of the Under 23 Gulf Cup with a match against Oman on Sunday night in Doha.

The six-team championship kicks off on Friday with Qatar playing Saudi Arabian and Oman facing Bahrain while Sunday's second game features Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

The UAE team played well in a final warm-up match ahead of the tournament, claiming a 2-0 victory over Qatar in a friendly at the Aspire Academy in Doha on Monday night.

Ali Mabkhout gave the UAE a 20th minute lead and Mohammed Jamal, a substitute, doubled the lead in the 75th minute.

Mahdi Ali, the coach, was pleased with the result.

"It is only a friendly but I am satisfied with the way they played and the result, which will certainly raise the spirit of the team," he said.

"This result only goes to show how well we have prepared but having said that, I must warn my players not to get carried away with this win in a friendly.

"The hard work is ahead and the first match with Oman will be crucial."

Monday's game was the first in two weeks for Ali's side after a three-week camp in Austria.

He said the players would be doing all they can to retain their regional crown and to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics.

Published: August 10, 2011 04:00 AM