UAE’s Ali Mabkhout head kicks the ball as Indonesia’s Muhamed Riyandi jumps to defend during their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification group G match at the Zabeel Stadium in Dubai on Friday. Agence France-Presse
The UAE cruised to an emphatic 5-0 win against Indonesia in Group G of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023.
Indonesia had suffered a 4-0 loss last time out against Vietnam, while the UAE secured their second win in a row with a 3-1 score line against Thailand.
The group hosts opened the scoring 23 minutes into the match, when Khalfan Mubarak and Ali Mabkhout, team-mates at club level, combined beautifully with Mubarak’s initial shot ricocheting off Indonesia’s keeper and Mabkhout hammering in the rebound to make the score 1-0.
Fabio Lima doubled the score five minutes later, when he headed in Mahmoud Khamis’ ball in from the flank from a tight angle, with two defenders failing to block the ball.
Indonesia almost clawed one back, when they won a penalty a few minutes from the break. Indonesia captain Evan Dimas took the shot, but Emirati keeper Ali Khaseif showed expert anticipation and was able to make the save.
Mabkhout added his personal second and his country’s third of the night from the spot three minutes after the break after Adam Alis fouled Mubarak in the area after he dribbled into the six yard box and attempted to shoot.
The fourth goal for the hosts came in the 58th minute, and was almost identical to the first with the same assist provider and scorer: Khamis sent the ball in from the left flank, and Fabio met it with a precision header that bounced off the ground and into the net.
Substitute Sebastian Tagliabue had only been on the pitch for four minutes when he hammered in the fifth goal of the game from short range while completely unmarked.
With a brace two goals in thumping victory against Indonesia on Friday, Mabkhout surpassed Indian skipper Sunil Chhetri to become the second highest goal scorer behind Cristiano Ronaldo among active players.
The reverse fixture also took place in Dubai back in October 2019 and saw the UAE defeat Indonesia 5-0 courtesy of an Mabkhout hat-trick sandwiched between a Khalil Ibrahim opener and a Tariq Ahmed injury time goal.
The result leaves the UAE sitting in second place on 15 points, two behind leaders Vietnam before the duo face off next, while Indonesia’s campaign ends with a single point.
Meanwhile, Vietnam secured a hard fought 2-1 win against Malaysia on Friday to stay top of Group G.
The first chance of the game fell to Vietnam, with Doan Van Hau marauding down the left flank and cutting inside before blasting a shot from range that went through a sea of legs, marginally missing keeper Farizal Marlias’ far post. Nguyen Hoang Duc followed up a few minutes later with a blistering strike from range, but Marlias held.
With 27 minutes gone, Nguyen Tien Linh made amends for a miss just minutes earlier, when following a set-piece, a number of frenzied headers flew across the six yard box, ended by his header that settled in the net to make the score 1-0.
Malaysia almost drew level five minutes before the break when Syafiq Ahmed headed a perfectly weighted cross straight at goal, but Bui Tan Truong produced a stunning reaction save to tip it away.
Safawi Rasid and Guilherme Lucrecio both missed golden chances as Malaysia pressed for the equaliser, the former’s free-kick hit the post on its way out while the latter’s shot marginally missed the target thanks to a block from the Vietnamese defence.
Malaysia finally got themselves level after Doan Van Hau jumped into Rasid as he was trying to claim a long ball, with the referee pointing to the spot instantly. Lucrecio stepped up and scored on 72 minutes to bring them level on 1-1.
Brendan Gan conceded a penalty with nine minutes left on the clock, and Vietnamese captain Que Ngoc Hai slammed it into the back of the net to take his side 2-1 in front.Malaysia stay in fourth place on nine points and face Thailand in their final tie.