Mabkhout hat-trick as UAE crush Yemen
Two-time winners UAE, helped by a hat-trick by Ali Mabkhout, registered an emphatic 3-0 win over Yemen to begin their 24th Arabian Gulf Cup campaign on a winning note at the Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium here yesterday.
With the win, UAE along with Iraq, which defeated hosts Qatar 2-1 in the opening match of the tournament, collected full points in the Group A matches played yesterday.
UAE, which had seen some indifferent performance in the Asian Cup at home and in the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup qualifiers, dominated from the word go.
Coach Bert van Marwijk side opened the scoring in the 21st minute and added a second one 17th minutes later.
In the second half, UAE added the third one to keep the Yemen players under pressure.
UAE having kicked off the proceedings by having control over the midfield opened the scoring through Ali Mabkhout who gave finishing touches to a move started by Bandar Al Ahbabi.
The same player was again in the thick of the action as he found himself in the right place to score UAE’s second goal.
The teams went into the half time break with UAE leading 2-0.
Mabkhout continues his impressive goal-scoring feat by adding a third one ten minutes into the second half.
The 29-year-old could not score more goals in the remaining period of play nor could his other team-mates.
In the next match, UAE takes on Iraq, while Yemen meet hosts Qatar on Friday.
The top two teams from each of the two groups qualify for the semi-finals.
By Armstrong Vas I The Peninsula
Edited By Black Coffee