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2019 AFC Asian Cup Rival Watch – UAE hold Honduras, Thailand beat Hong Kong – football news

In the build-up to the AFC Asian Cup 2019 that will be held in UAE in January, India’s Group A rivals – UAE, Bahrain and Thailand – have been in action in the ongoing international break. 

UAE came from behind to draw 1-1 against Honduras in a friendly played in Barcelona. Romell Quioto (18′) had given Honduras the lead while Al Hilal star Abdul Rahman (32′) scored the equaliser in the same half. At half-time, both teams were locked 1-1.

Alberto Zaccheroni had included forward Ismail Matar in his first XI for the clash after the veteran striker was out of national team action for around a year. The other players up front consisted of the likes of Ali Mabkhout and Ahmad Khalil as the Italian fielded a 4-3-3 for the first time. Moreover, Honduras are ranked 15 places higher than UAE who were also missing Al Jazira striker Ali Mabkhout and Shabab Al Ahli forward Dubai Club’s Ahmed Khalil due to minor injury concerns. 

UAE are set to meet Venezuela next as part of their preparations at their Spanish camp that will conclude on October 16. The Asian Cup hosts have already held camps in Austria and Spain in August and September respectively earlier while they will have two more camps scheduled in November and December back home as well.

The team’s recent results involve a 3-0 win over Laos that eased the pressure on Zaccheroni after a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Trinidad and Tobago in Girona, Spain.

Elsewhere, at the Mongkok Stadium in Hong Kong, Thailand picked up a 1-0 victory over Hong Kong with Thai-German striker Philip Roller scoring the only goal of the match in the second minute. 

Milovan Rajevac’s side will be facing Trinidad and Tobago in Siphanburi on Sunday next. 

“The game against Hong Kong is a good test for us. They have tall players and used high ball against us all the time. We learned a lot from the game while several players have been sent to gain experience for the first time,” said the coach. 

Bahrain, India’s other group rival, were defeated 1-0 by Syria at home on Thursday in a friendly at Riffa. Forward Omar Souma scored the winning goal for the visitors in the 30th minute. Despite Bahrain striving for an equaliser, the Syrians were able to hold them off without much concern. 

The Bahrainis next take on Palestine on Tuesday next week.

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