UAE begin Austria tour with defeat

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Consolation goal: Habib Fardan scored late for the UAE but could not prevent the defeat.

Star midfielder Habib Fardan’s late strike was not enough to prevent the UAE from beginning their tour of Europe with a 2-1 friendly defeat to Serie A side Udinese in Linz, Austria.

The Whites fell behind in the 20th minute, after striker Alexandre Geijo calmly converted from the penalty spot.

Things got worse when young Colombian striker Alexis Zapata doubled the lead after the break, with coach Mahdi Ali’s men then unable to build on Fardan’s consolation.

The match on Thursday night was the first of four to come during the on-going training camp, which is in preparation for November’s Gulf Cup defence and January’s Asian Cup.

The Whites travel to play Norway in Oslo on August 27, prior to meetings in Austria with Lithuania on October 3 and Paraguay on October 7.

Recalled UAE skipper Ismail Matar is unlikely to play any further part in the tour, which ends on September 8, after travelling to Munich, Germany for x-rays on a knee injury.

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