Pressure is on for Alberto Zaccheroni and UAE when they face Honduras on Thursday

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(Twitter/@uaent2019).

The UAE’s troubled preparations for January’s Asian Cup are set to ratchet up on Thursday (20:00 UAE) when they meet Honduras in Barcelona for the first of two friendlies this international break.

Alberto Zaccheroni’s tournament hosts snapped a five-match winless run last time out when they thrashed minnows Laos 3-0 on September 11. A squad will now compete against far-superior opposition at Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys that has been refreshed by the presence – from the start – of electric Al Jazira playmaker Khalfan Mubarak, youngsters such as defender Khalifa Al Hammadi and an Omar Abdulrahman getting up to speed after his protracted switch to Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal.

Hassan Suhail, a Whites great and current member of the UAE Football Association’s technical committee, is encouraged by what he’s witnessed.

He said: “The two friendly matches against Honduras and Venezuela (Tuesday) are beneficial to the team.

“The competition will be fierce, as each players wants to fight for his place in the final squad for the Asian Cup.”

Honduras are ranked 62nd by FIFA, 18 places above the UAE.

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