Lebanon fought back from 3-1 down to lead 4-3 thanks partly to a Mohamad Merhi brace, but, after the UAE recovered to force extra time and penalties, the skipper was the only one to register for the men in red.
Haitham Fattal and Moustafa Al Zein both faltered while Haitham Mohamed and Hasham Muntaser registered for the UAE to book themselves a place in Saturday’s final and the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in the Bahamas.
Amid a scrappy start from both sides, a foul by Mahmoud Matar on Ahmed Beshr allowed the UAE man to tuck home the opener from the spot although the advantage was shortlived as Ahmed Grada levelled shortly after.
With the game having opened up, chances began to flow prior to the interval but the scoreline remained finely poised throughout a captivating second frame.
An impressive sidefoot finish from Haitham Mohamed into the top corner sent momentum back the way of UAE with the men in white finishing the period on top – Mohamed Choker required to pull off a string of smart saves to keep Lebanon within one goal of parity.
Sloppy defending from allowed Ali Mohammad to register with 21 seconds left of the frame, although again Lebanon responded quickly once more, this time through a Matar free-kick.
And the comeback was complete when Merhi found the top corner with a set-piece of his own seconds after the restart.
The skipper sent Lebanon in front for the first time with a well-struck penalty but Ali wrestled control back for the UAE with a penalty, the defender benefiting from a slightly fortuitous bounce in the sand.
After extra time failed to find a winner, it was UAE who secured their final spot from the spot as Haitham and Hasham registered to ensure their country’s place in tomorrow’s final.
Lebanon will get one final shot at a FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup spot in Saturday’s third-place play-off.
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