UAE thrash India in friendly

UAE drub India
Action from the UAE-India match. Photo: IANS

Dubai: Striker Ali Mabkhout scored a hat-trick as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) thrashed India 6-0 in an international friendly at the Zabeel Stadium here on Monday.

Ali Mabkhout scored in the 12th, 32nd (penalty), and 60th minutes while Khalil Ibrahim netted in the 64th, Fabio De Lima in the 71st and Sebastian Tagliabue in the 81st minute to complete the rout.

Indian head coach Igor Stimac gave game time to many new faces, making as many as eight changes to the Blue Tigers' starting XI which drew 1-1 with Oman. He brought in Gurpreet Singh (captain for the day), Adil Khan, Anirudh Thapa, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Lalengmawia Ralte, Pritam Kotal, Liston Colaco and Mashoor Shereef and gave them the opportunity to stake a claim for upcoming matches in June.

Among those who retained their places in the XI were Akash Mishra, Manvir Singh, and Suresh Wangjam, with the likes of Sandesh Jhingan, Rowllin Borges, Bipin Singh not in action.

The UAE, ranked 74 in the FIFA rankings, managed to get an early goal against the 104th- ranked India when Mabkhout latched onto a through ball from Fabio De Lima and chipped it over the goalkeeper.

India went looking for the equaliser after the goal and soon had a decent opportunity when debutant Liston Colaco -- the 11th debutant in the two friendly games -- earned a free-kick from a dangerous position. Anirudh Thapa played Pritam Kotal through down the right flank, but the UAE defence averted the danger.

At the half-hour mark, Fabio De Lima cut in from the right and took a shot that the referee adjudged to have been blocked by Adil Khan's hand. Mabkhout again stepped up and slotted it home from the penalty spot on the 32nd minute mark.

The two teams headed into the dressing rooms at half-time, with the UAE leading 2-0.

Stimac made two changes at the start of the second half, bringing on Yasir Mohammad in place of Anirudh Thapa while Halicharan Narzary replaced Chhangte.

Mabkhout completed his hat-trick at the hour mark, as he controlled the ball inside the box, and slotted it home. Four minutes later, Khalil Ibrahim's first-time shot found the back of the Indian net, to make it 4-0.

Raynier Fernandes and Ishan Pandita came on as substitutes in the 58th minute in place of Liston Colaco and Lalengmawia. In the 72nd minute, Hitesh Sharma replaced Suresh Wangjam in midfield. Ashique Kuruniyan was brought on for Akash Mishra with 10 minutes to go.

Fabio Lima added a fifth, before setting up substitute Sebastian Tagliabue towards the end, and he scored his team's sixth goal as the hosts won the match hands down.

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