Watch highlights from today's semi-final where the UAE's incredible Asian Cup run came to an end after a 2-0 defeat to the hands of the host nation Australia
Video courtesy of AFC Asian Cup's YouTube channel.
United Arab Emirates dreams of a place in the final of the 2015 Asian Cup were over within 15 minutes of the semi-final against Australia in Newcastle on Tuesday evening, as two early goals set the hosts on their way to a 2-0 win.
Their heroics against Japan in the quarter-final four days previously could not be repeated. UAE played more football going forward but were nowhere near as tight at the back, especially in the opening exchanges.
Trent Sainsbury headed the Socceroos into a third minute lead from a corner that handed Mahdi Ali’s men a nightmare start.
It went from bad to worse just before the quarter hour mark. Another set piece was not cleared, allowing Jason Davidson to slam home the loose ball from close range.
The two strikes left the UAE, underdogs already, with a huge task and it was one that they never really looked like completing.
Matters settled down over the rest of the first 45 but still Mahdi Ali’s men struggled to create the clear cut chances needed to get back into the game.
The second half saw a more aggressive display from the Whites. Ali Mabkhout and Ahmed Khalil, quiet in the opening period, started to stretch the Australian defence and ask questions of goalkeeper Mat Ryan.
Despite UAE taking some control of the game, it wasn’t enough to get themselves back into the game. Though, had the final ball been a little better, it could all have been different in front of a surprisingly subdued Newcastle crowd.
Australia, perhaps content with the good start, seemed to lack a little spark and were happy to let the clock run down without risking their two-goal advantage. And that is how it played out.
UAE may be satisfied with the tournament in general but will be leaving this semi-final with a few regrets.
Sport360 brings you all the action live as Asian Cup surprise package UAE meet tournament hosts Australia in the semi-final, with a sport against South Korea in Saturday's showpiece at stake.
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