#AFCAsianCup2019 United Arab Emirates 1- 1 Bahrein


Abu Dhabi:  A last gasp Ahmed Khalil penalty ensured host nation the United Arab Emirates a share of the spoils as they drew 1-1 with Bahrain in their AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Group A opener on Saturday.

With time running out, Khalil impressively held his nerve to convert from 12 yards for the 1996 AFC Asian Cup runners-up after Mohamed Al Rohaimi had given a resilient Bahrain the lead just 10 minutes earlier.

The draw, played out in front of a vocal crowd at Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City Stadium, sees the regional rivals tied at the top of the Group A standings ahead of Sunday’s match between fellow group hopefuls India and Thailand.

After a cautious opening, it was to be the UAE who threatened first, striker Ali Mabkhout expertly finding Ismail Al Hammadi who raced into the area and fired narrowly wide of Bahrain goalkeeper Sayed Shubbar’s far post with six minutes played.

With the Emiratis slowly but surely gaining an albeit tentative foothold in the game, Mabkhout scuffed an effort when well-placed and then blasted a shot over the bar from 15 yards after a fine Ali Salmin cross on 23 minutes.

Bahrain’s first genuine opportunity followed shortly after, but the impressive Al Rohaimi failed to find the target with a header from Komail Al Aswad’s curled delivery.

In the final moments of an intriguing first half, Al Aswad came within inches of handing Bahrain the lead only for his delightful free-kick from 25 yards to flash narrowly over the bar.

The opening moments of the second period duly followed the pattern of the first, as the UAE looked to impose themselves on their opponents who still carried a threat.

Indeed, UAE custodian Khalid Eisa had to be at his very best in the 52nd minute to palm away Ali Madan’s fierce drive and expertly block Al Rohaimi’s subsequent follow-up.

The seemingly omnipresent Mabkhout then flashed a shot inches wide of the target as the UAE continued to search for the breakthrough, before Al Rohaimi brought the best out of Eisa with a low drive that the goalkeeper did well to palm away to safety.

Bahrain’s resilience was though to pay handsome dividends on 78 minutes when they took the lead. Defender Sayed Redah Isa crossed to Al Rohaimi who saw his initial header cleared off the line before ramming home the rebound.

There was, however, more drama to come as Bahrain substitute Mohamed Mahroon, who had only just come on, handled in the area on 88 minutes and Ahmed Khalil rammed home the resulting penalty to ensure his side a point.

The UAE are next in action when they face India at the same venue on Thursday, with Bahrain set to face Thailand in Dubai on the same day.


Source : AFC Asian Football Confederation Website

#AFCAsianCup2019 Preview – Group A: Thailand v India

Stephen Constantine - India - AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019

Abu Dhabi: Both India and Thailand are confident of taking all three points when they meet in their AFC Asian Cup Group A opener at the Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

The two teams are making a welcome return to the Continental showpiece, with India last appearing in 2011 and Thailand four years earlier.

Drawn in a group that also includes the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, a win for either India and Thailand will go a long way to boosting their hopes of advancing to the Round of 16, a fact not lost on the head coaches of both teams, who also accept that the opener is going to be far from easy.

“We are, obviously, expecting a tough game. Thailand are a very good side,” said India’s Stephen Constantine.

“However, we think we have prepared very well for Thailand and on Sunday we will find out. I don’t think we are under pressure. What we do have is the pressure to win, which is every time as we want to win for India.”

Constantine, who has been at the helm for four years, will guide the second youngest squad at the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.

Since returning as head coach for a second stint, India have improved tremendously and enjoyed a relatively smooth journey in qualifying for the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.

“What has changed in the four years is our mentality. If before, it was to not lose by many goals, now it is to win. The work rate has also increased. In fact, the reason why we are here is because of the work rate and unity.”

The Englishman’s assertion was shared by goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who will make his second appearance in the AFC Asian Cup.

“We are feeling really motivated. Playing for the country is always special, we have worked very hard to be here and we are a difficult team to play against,” said Gurpreet.

“What we have done over the four years is work really hard, as the coach said, and we give everything when we step onto the pitch.”

With Constantine saying his injury-free squad are fully aware of what the Thais have to offer, counterpart Milovan Rajevac has declared that his team will head into the tie fully prepared.

“The first match is always very important, especially in a big tournament. We respect India, they have improved over the last few years but we have prepared very well,” said Rajevac.

“We want a good result and my team has been focusing on that as we will be taking it one match at a time.”

The Thais come into the tournament having being dethroned as champions of Southeast Asia, but Rajevac said that is something which is now well and truly behind them.

“The AFF Cup is behind us. Yes, we lost but we played with a team that was missing several regulars who were playing for clubs abroad. It is a completely different situation now. We have the best players available and we are determined to advance to the next round.”

If they do progress, it will have been from a group where all the other teams are ranked higher than themselves.

“That will motivate us further. We are looking forward to playing not only India but also UAE and Bahrain as we relish our chances of making the knockout stage.

“India have improved greatly over the last few years. Most of their players are now taller, physically stronger and are improving in every way. I also know the India coach and I know that he is always doing brilliant work. I am sure he has improved India with his knowledge and experience.”

Team captain Teerasil Dangda said Thailand are determined to deliver results for their fans.

“They have always supported the national team and with Thailand making the AFC Asian Cup for the first time in 12 years, we want it to be a tournament the fans will remember.”


Source : AFC Asian Football Confederation Website

#AFCAsianCup2019 AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 to salute Wild Boars Football Academy players

Wild Boars-Arrive

Abu Dhabi: Representatives from Wild Boars Football Academy, who captured the world’s attention when they were miraculously rescued from a flooded cave in July 2018, have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness their Thai football idols in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.

Three Wild Boars players as well as their assistant coach, will see Thailand’s opening game against India at the Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Sunday at the invitation from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

There will also be a meet and greet for the group with their national heroes and they will receive a behind-the-scenes stadium tour before experiencing VIP access during what promises to be a decisive contest.

AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said: “The courage and perseverance of the 12 teenagers and their coach under extremely challenging conditions were a source of inspiration for millions of people across the world.

“Now we have an opportunity to continue this remarkable fairy-tale. Football has the power to bring hope and joy to people of all backgrounds and nationalities and the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 is the ultimate platform on which to celebrate the unity and diversity of our Continent.

“I am confident that the presence of the Wild Boars Academy players will make for an even more memorable tournament and will inspire them to continue their incredible footballing journey.

“During their terrible 18-day ordeal, they demonstrated the power of unity and teamwork and, in the end, they thankfully overcame all the challenges that they faced.”

The invitation is part of a larger two-year support programme from the AFC to the Wild Boars, which will see the club receive technical support as well as training equipment and 100 Molten match balls a year.


Source : AFC Asian Football Confederations Website

#AFCAsianCup2019 Turkmenistan, Lebanon arrive to rousing welcome

Lebanon team arrival 

Abu Dhabi: Turkmenistan and Lebanon have arrived for the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 ahead of the Continental showpiece which kicks off on Saturday.

Both teams arrived in Dubai and have planned several training sessions before their respective UAE 2019 matches.

Yazguly Hojageldiyev’s Turkemistan will be making their second appearance in the Asian Cup following their debut in 2004 where they exited the group stage of the competition.

The Turkmen will rely on Altymyrat Annadurdyyew to lead their charge after the forward guided Altyn Asyr to the 2018 AFC Cup final.

The Emeralds are fired up after sealing a 2-0 win over Afghanistan in a friendly on December 25.

Turkmenistan play four-time champions Japan in their UAE 2019 opener on January 9 before taking on Uzbekistan on January 13 and Oman on January 17.

Miodrag Radulovic’s Lebanon will also be making their second appearance in the AFC Asian Cup after first appearing in the Continental competition in 2000, exiting the group stage.

The Chedars were treated to a rousing reception upon their arrival in Dubai as hundreds greeted Radulovic’s men.

Lebanon are in Group E of the competition and will open their account against Qatar on January 9 before facing Saudi Arabia on January 12 and DPR Korea five days later.

Photos: Football Federation of Turkmenistan, Lebanon Football Association

Source : AFC Asian Football Confederation Website




#AFCAsianCup2019 Preview – Group B: Australia v Jordan


Al Ain: Australia coach Graham Arnold has consigned his nation’s AFC Asian Cup victory four years ago to the history books as he prepares to lead the defending champions into their first game of the 2019 edition against Jordan in Al Ain on Sunday.

The Socceroos claimed their first-ever AFC Asian Cup title on home soil in 2015 but, with a rejuvenated squad and a new man at the helm, Arnold was quick to stress he and his players are focused only on what lies ahead.

“That was four years ago, it was in our own nation and it’s a great memory for the Australian public, but in four years many things change in and around the team and also in people’s personal lives,” said Arnold, who took over as Australia coach following the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.

“It’s a great memory, but we’re totally focused on what’s in front of us. We can’t do anything about the past and what’s in front of us is the Asian Cup. For the players and myself it’s time to get the show started. Everyone’s been talking about it for a long time and we’ve prepared for it and we’re ready.”

Arnold confirmed Mathew Leckie will not be fit enough to feature against the Jordanians in the Group B meeting after sustaining a hamstring injury in the build-up to the tournament, but he remains hopeful the Hertha Berlin winger will return soon.

“He’s coming along really well,” said the coach. “Obviously it’s one game at a time and we’ve really thrown our belief behind him, and he has a strong will to be with us. He’s worked hard since he came into camp and at this minute he’s only out for the first game and we’ll reassess for the second game.”

The Australians take on a Jordan side that has changed significantly since the two countries faced off in the second round of qualifying, when Jordan won the first meeting 2-0 in Amman before the Socceroos cruised to a 5-1 success in the return in Sydney.

New coach Vital Borkelmans has been in charge since October last year and the Belgian is focusing on trying to emulate the country’s previous best performances at the AFC Asian Cup, with Jordan reaching the quarter-finals in 2004 and 2011.

“Australia is very good, the country and the coach have made good performances and also they were at the World Cup and the experience they have at the Asian Cup is amazing,” he said.

“For us, we are preparing for every game, not only Australia is very important. There are good games also against Syria and Palestine. There are three teams in this one group from Arab countries, so this is a special group.

“This tournament is so special, for every team and every country the start is always dangerous and every team is scared to lose.”

The Jordanians come into the tournament off the back of just one win in their last five friendly games, with their three matches in Qatar during their pre-AFC Asian Cup training camp yielding only one goal.

That came in a 1-1 draw with China after Borkelmans’ team had already lost to both Kyrgyz Republic and Qatar, leaving the Belgian hoping his players’ fortunes in front of goal take a turn for the better after seeing his side create goal scoring opportunities.

“My team is ready physically and mentally and tomorrow they will hopefully make a good game like they did in Qatar and make a lot of chances as we did against China, Kyrgyzstan and Qatar,” he said.

“They made a lot of chances and it’s very important they make a lot of chances and one day it will change, and maybe that will be tomorrow.”


Source : AFC Asian Football Confederation Website

AFC protects rights of commercial partners

AFC Blue Logo

Abu Dhabi: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has been made aware that unauthorised broadcasters may attempt to screen the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 matches in contravention of the AFC broadcast agreements.

The AFC, in order to protect the rights of its broadcast partners, has issued ‘cease and desist’ notices to the infringers.

The AFC takes any breaches of its commercial agreements very seriously and will also continue to take whatever action is appropriate to protect the interests of all its commercial partners.


Source : Asian Football Confederation Website

Divorce notice via SMS


Women lawyers welcome new legal system taking effect next week

By Adnan Al-Shabrawi

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH — A number of Saudi female lawyers have said the new system introduced by the Justice Ministry to notify married women through SMS in case of divorce will put an end to a situation where the women are the last ones to know about their latest marital status.

Lawyer Somayya Al-Hindi told Okaz/Saudi Gazette that Saudi courts in the past heard many cases of Saudi women who continued to live with their ex-husbands not knowing that they had been divorced.

“Saudi men in the past obtained divorce deeds from courts without the knowledge of their wives and without informing them of their new marital status,” Al-Hindi said.

The new initiative will notify the women immediately by SMS to their phone numbers registered through the Absher system when a divorce deed is issued by a court, she added.

The text message will inform the divorcee of the number of the divorce document and the court that issued it.

“This will put an end to any attempts at cheating or impersonating the identity of women to take control of their bank accounts and property using previously issued powers of attorney,” Al-Hindi said.

Lawyer Nasreen Al-Ghamdi said Saudi courts received many complaints about impersonating the identity of divorced women or using powers of attorney they had signed prior to divorce without their knowledge and approval.

“The new system, which will come into force next week, will plug every loophole that allowed ex-husbands or male relatives to have a upper hand in matters of inheritance and the management of the family estate. This is a huge step forward and will facilitate many of the services provided to divorced women. This new system will authorize a court employee to confirm the identity of the woman through Absher, her national ID and her date of birth. And women will have the ability to confirm their marital status electronically through the Justice Ministry’s Najez portal and review the details of their divorce deed.”

Other lawyers said several reforms introduced by the Ministry of Justice lately contributed greatly to ensure justice to women and protect their rights. The ministry and the Supreme Judicial Council worked together to resolve many issues facing women and to protect their rights through the judicial system.


Source : Saudi Gazette