With star striker Ali Mabkhout scoring a superb hat trick, the UAE turned on the heat, dismantling India in clinical fashion as they registered an emphatic 6-0 victory
For the record, this was an international friendly. But the UAE showed no mercy to the hapless Indian national football team on Monday.
With star striker Ali Mabkhout scoring a superb hat trick, the UAE turned on the heat, dismantling India in clinical fashion as they registered an emphatic 6-0 victory at the Zabeel Stadium.
This was also the UAE’s biggest ever win in international football over India – a team that had impressed with their resilience only a few days ago in a 1-1 draw with Oman.
But on Monday, they had no answer to the Ali Mabkhout’s brilliance in the final third.
Such was the UAE’s dominance that Igor Stimac’s India team did not even get a single shot on target in one of the most forgettable encounters in recent times.
Striker Ali Mabkhout’s three goals came in the 12th, 32nd and 60th minutes while Khalil Ibrahim (64th) and Fabio Lima (71st and 84th) added the other three.
The gulf in the class and technical superiority was all too apparent, though India were without their talismanic skipper Sunil Chhetri, who is recovering from Covid-19 infection.
Key defender Sandesh Jhingan was also rested as Stimac experimented with new players in his big 27-member squad.
The draw against Oman had given a lot of hope to the Indians who are at 104th in Fifa chart against the 74th ranked UAE.
But it turned out to be one of the most mediocre shows by any Indian side against the UAE.
It turned out to be the heaviest defeat against the UAE, obliterating the 0-5 loss in an international friendly in 2010 in Abu Dhabi.
Stimac said just before the match that his players should be able to make quick decision against a much superior and technically better opponents.
His players did nothing, rather they were not allowed to do anything as the UAE toyed with the Indians and created chances almost at will.
The Indians were not allowed to hold the ball and all the Stimac’s men did were to chase for most part of match.
The UAE had 67 per cent possession in the first half during which Ali Mabkhout chipped one over Indian goalkeeper and captain, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, and then scored from the spot after Adil Khan handled the ball inside the box.
The second half was no better for India, unlike against Oman when they fought back to equalise, as UAE laid bare the utterly porous Indian defence to pump in four more goals.
After Ali Mabkhout completed his hat trick at the hour mark, Khalil Ibrahim made a fine finish with a first-time shot in the 64th minute to make it 4-0 before Fabio Lima completed the rout with two more goals in the 71st and 84th minute.
India’s only noteworthy move came just before half-time when Liston Colaco, who made his debut on Monday, found Manvir Singh with a superb through ball but the striker’s shot was blocked by the onrushing UAE keeper.
Bert van Marwijk, the head coach, was delighted with the UAE performance ahead of the team’s crunch World Cup and Asian Cup qualifiers in June.
The Whites go into the qualifiers in June facing a must-win situation in their remaining four matches in Group G to enter the third qualifying round for the 2022 World Cup. (With inputs from PTI)