Dubai, United Arab Emirates’ head coach Bert van Marwijk remained focused on the task at hand following his side’s emphatic 4-0 victory against Malaysia as Group G of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 resumed on Thursday.
Ali Mabkhout put the UAE in the lead midway through the opening half after a fine Abdullah Ramadan long pass set him up. An extended spell of Malaysian resilience was broken by three further Emirati goals in the final 10 minutes of the game, with Mabkhout adding a second and Fabio Lima also registering a brace.
“This was a strong restart after a long stoppage,” said van Marwijk who had previously led Saudi Arabia to qualify to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
“It is important that we continue performing well and winning the rest of our matches to achieve our objective of reaching the decisive stage of the Qualifiers.
“We played well in the first half and improved in the second half. We had to keep it simple to be able to manage playing in these tough weather conditions. I would like to thank the players for their discipline and sticking to the plan,” he said in statements carried by the AFC’s website.
The UAE’s position in the group was aided by Thailand’s failure to beat bottom side Indonesia as the two neighbours played out a 2-2 draw at Al Maktoum Stadium on Thursday.
“I am not concerned with other results in the group. I only think about my team. We have to move on from today’s win and focus on our next match on Monday.”
For head coach Tan Cheng Hoe, there was no hiding the fact the result is a dent to Malaysia’s hopes of qualification.
“I am very disappointed with the defeat. We have to work on fixing our mistakes so we can get better results in upcoming games,” said Tan.
“We must learn our lessons from tonight’s game and prepare well for the Vietnam match. Winning will be crucial for us to maintain our hopes in the qualifiers, the match against Vietnam will be even more difficult after today’s defeat.”
The UAE face Thailand on Monday while Malaysia’s next game takes place on Friday, June 11 against Vietnam.
Source: Emirates News Agency