Abu Dhabi: The UAE’s ace playmaker Omar Abdul Rahman has hailed his team’s showing following their 4-2 win in penalties over Iraq for a place in the Gulf Cup final on Tuesday night.
Abdul Rahman was of the view that the team is improving with every match and will not spare anything to clinch the title when they meet Oman on Friday. The final will kick off at 6.30 pm UAE time.
“The match against Iraq was difficult but we all played as a unit to reach the final. Everyone played a role and that has sent us to the final,” said an elated Abdul Rahman, who was one of the scorers for UAE in the shootout.
The UAE have made it to the summit clash with just one goal in regulation time to their name — from the penalty spot — that came in the opener against Oman. Though striking woes still exist for the UAE, Abdul Rahman was confident that the team is on the right track to clinch the championship.
“We are getting better with every match. It took us sometime to adapt to the tactics but we have done well. We have also learnt from our mistakes,” said Abdul Rahman, adding: “We won the match with Oman and in the next match with Saudi team we were better. Against Kuwait, we were even better I would say and also enjoyed that contest. And today we played good but it was a difficult match, so with every passing day we are getting better.”
Abdul Rahman was targeted by UAE’s opponents and was brought down under some rough tackles on a series of occasions. “I will be having a few painkillers for sure but I will be good to go for the finals,” the playmaker said.
The Al Ain star was of the view that it was important for the his UAE teammates to enjoy the victory first before looking towards the Oman clash.
“Today, we want to enjoy this win. From tomorrow, we will start thinking about how to correct all the negative things of this match. Oman is a strong team but we will be playing hard to win the title.”
UAE goalkeeper Khalid Eisa was simply exceptional under the bar right through the contest. It was his brilliant block to thwart Iraq’s attacking midfielder Alaa Abdul Zahra in the shootout that paved the way for UAE’s win.
Eisa attributed the success to his entire team and asserted that they will be looking to clinch the title at all costs. “All the players were heroes and that’s the reason behind the win and not just me. We all played together and did our roles to perfection. Our goal was to make our leaders and people happy. We now vow to return to the UAE with the title,” said Eisa.
“I think we are now up to the best level for this championship and we will do our best to win the title. One of the senior players told me at the hotel to do my best and you will become a star. Try and be as calm as possible in the goal, he said. I followed that and that paid rich dividends,” revealed Eisa.
Striker Ahmad Khalil, who has struggled with injuries all through this season, made it to the starting team for the first time and was there on the field for a good 74 minutes. “First of all, thank God we have reached the final. Every match is different and has its share of challenges. Having made it to the finals now, we will be thinking about the next match. We will be putting our best foot forward to win the title,” said Khalil, who acknowledged that he still needs some time to completely get into the grove.
“I have just come back into the team and it is not easy when you are making a comeback after a three-month break. I will be focusing better on the next match and shall correct some mistakes.”