Bert van Marwijk’s UAE revolution continued apace as they eased to a 3-0 win over Yemen to open their Gulf Cap campaign in confident fashion.
The Whites reached the final of the last tournament – held in Kuwait from December 22, 2017, to January 5, 2018 – but underwhelmed throughout as they eventually lost on penalties in the final to Oman.
Van Marwijk’s charges erased those painful memories with a vibrant performance in their opener at the 24th running of the regional competition. They tripled their tournament tally from the 23rd Gulf Cup, scoring just once in that bizarre run to the final.
Ali Mabkhout was the standout performer with a sixth international hat-trick, moving on to 58 goals for his country and impressively past Romario, Samuel Eto’o and level with Edin Dzeko in the process.
Here’s how the Whites rated in Doha.
Mohammed Al Shamsi 6: Little to do but looked calm and composed with the more experienced duo of Khalid Essa and Ali Khaseif watching from the bench.
Mohammed Al Menhali 7: With every belated appearance he is showing why he should have been in the UAE set-up years ago. Disciplined as ever, while often got beyond Al Ahbabi.
Hamdan Al Kamali 7: The one-time Lyon loanee formed a solid partnership with young Al Hammadi. Rendered Yemeni attack impotent. Late withdrawal with an injury will concern Van Marwijk.
Khalifa Al Hammadi 6: The Jazira youngster looks like he’s been at this level years – despite being only 21. Powerful and composed alongside experienced Al Kamali.
Yousef Jaber 7: Father time turned back the clock and the skipper didn’t look out of place on his return from a seven-year international exile.
Tariq Ahmed 7: Al Nasr veteran set the tone with a rugged display in midfield, formed a nice pivot with Ramadan. Jazira youngster roamed more while he patrolled.
Abdullah Ramadan 7: Another youngster who Van Marwijk has thrust into the fold. Worked hard and fed potent forwards. Composed and neat passing caught the eye.
Bandar Al Ahbabi 9: Has relaunched his career in latter years back at boyhood club Al Ain. Now a vital component there and at international level, showing trickery to set up opening two goals.
Khalfan Mubarak 8: Sliced through red shirts at will, Yemen could not keep him pinned down. Released Al Ahbabi for the opening goal. Mabkhout is the marksman but Mubarak is the magician.
Jassim Yaqoob 7: Was cutting a frustrated figure on the left, so cut inside to contribute to both goals. His impish skill and insightful pass set up Al Ahbabi to cross for Mabkhout’s second.
Ali Mabkhout 9: Does what he does best, score. A sixth UAE hat-trick in fact. Powered in Al Ahbabi’s pinpoint cross, second was a gift which he gleefully accepted, third was world class as he dummied two defenders before finishing stylishly.
Ali Saleh 7: Involved constantly down the left after replacing Yaqoob. One dangerous low cross led to a corner.
Khalil Ibrahim 7: Like Saleh on opposite flank his exuberance gave Yemen little respite. Stung Salem Saeed palms with a rasping shot.
Ahmed Barman N/A: Relieved the tireless Ahmed, little time to shine.
Know more about Sport360 Application