Asia's elite warm up for UAE 2019
Kuala Lumpur: On a busy night of action for Asian national sides, several AFC Asian Cup 2019 UAE qualifiers were in action on Thursday in preparation for the Continental showpiece on January 5-February 1.
Thailand and Syria recorded wins, the United Arab Emirates played to a draw against Honduras while Bahrain, Iraq and Lebanon suffered defeats.
Barcelona: The United Arab Emirates, aiming to impress on home soil, secured a 1-1 draw with Honduras with talisman Omar Abdulrahman's 32nd minute strike giving them a share of the spoils at the Estadio Olimpico de Montjuic in Barcelona.
Honduras had taken an 18th minute lead through Romell Quioto, who scored with a right-footed shot from close range to the top right corner of the UAE net.
UAE fought back and were rewarded when Abdulrahman found the back of the net with a right-footed effort after receiving the ball from Ismaeil Matar.
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Both sides pressed for a second goal but had to be satisfied with a draw as UAE now look ahead to a friendly against South American side Venezuela on Tuesday, also in Barcelona.
In the AFC Asian Cup 2019 on home soil, the UAE will play in Group A with Thailand, India and Bahrain for company.
They will kick off the Continental showpiece against Bahrain on January 5 before playing India (January 10) and Thailand (January 14).
Hong Kong: Thailand defeated Hong Kong 1-0 in an international friendly at the Mong Kok Stadium.
Right-back Philip Roller of Thai League 1 club Ratchaburi Mitr Phol struck as early as the second minute for the Southeast Asians as he connected to a pass from Supachai Udon.
Despite the best efforts of both teams, there was not to be another goal as Milovan Rajevac's Thailand's preparations for the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 received a boost.
Up next for Thailand is a friendly against Trinidad & Tobago at the Suphanburi Provincial Stadium on Sunday.
Thailand will open their UAE 2019 campaign against India on January 6 followed by Bahrain (January 10) and UAE (January 14).
Gary White's Hong Kong, who are preparing for the second round of the 2019 East Asian Cup qualifiers in November, will face Indonesia on Tuesday.
Riffa: Omar Al Somah’s first half goal proved to be enough as Syria clinched a 1-0 win over Bahrain at the Bahrain National Stadium in Riffa.
In an all-West Asian affair, Bahrain came into the match unbeaten in their past five games, while Syria had suffered a 2-1 defeat to Kyrgyz Republic last month.
The Qasioun Eagles broke the deadlock at the half-hour mark when a long range pass caught the Bahraini defence off guard, and Al Somah controlled the ball with his first touch before slotting into the bottom left corner of the net.
Bahrain will look to bounce back from the loss when they take on Palestine, while Syria will aim to continue their fine form against China PR, with both matches on Tuesday.
Kuwait City: Faisal Zayed's strike gave Kuwait a 1-0 win over Lebanon at the Kuwait Sports Club Stadium.
The result was a setback for Lebanon ahead of the AFC Asian Cup 2019, where they will play in Group E with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and DPR Korea.
Up next for Lebanon will be a friendly against Australia on November 20. Kuwait, meanwhile, will play Australia on Monday.
Riyadh: Iraq fell to a 4-0 defeat to South American giants Argentina at the Faisal bin Fahd Stadium.
Lautaro Martinez opened the scoring for the two-time world champions in the 18th minute but Iraq did well to contain Argentina after that.
Roberto Pereyra, however, doubled Argentina's lead in the 53rd with German Pezzella (82nd) and Franco Cervi (90th) completing the victory.
Iraq, who are also preparing for the AFC Asian Cup 2019 UAE, play Saudi Arabia on Monday.
In UAE 2019, Iraq are in Group D with Islamic Republic of Iran, Vietnam and Yemen.
Photos: FA Thailand, AFP
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