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Marwijk happy with UAE's response

Kuala Lumpur: UAE head coach Bert van Marwijk was delighted to claim three points after his side edged Malaysia 2-1 in their Asian Qualifiers Group G encounter at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium on Tuesday.

This was Marwijk’s first competitive game in charge of UAE since taking the role in March and he was given a reality check when Malaysia grabbed the lead inside the first minute.

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“We started very badly. Everyone could see that, 1-0 after 40 seconds. We were sleeping on the left side and in the centre. We couldn’t take part in the game in the first half. It was difficult to keep the ball.

“Tactically we were not good on the left side but I tried to correct it during the game but it was not easy with the noise in this stadium. Malaysia always had one extra man on our left side but we corrected it and didn’t have that problem in the second half,” said the Dutchman.

UAE withstood the pressure from Malaysia in the first half before star striker Ali Mabkhout leveled the score two minutes before the interval.

The AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 semi-finalists showed more urgency in the second half as Mabkhout clinched his second and the winning goal of the night.

“We had our best part in the second half. I saw that Malaysia were tired from the last game and from the trip, I think. That was the moment when we should score goals because we had three or four big chances in the first 15 minutes of the second half,” said Marwijk.

He praised his players for the resolute performance after withstanding a flurry of Malaysian attacks in the final 15 minutes.

“The moment the Malaysian coach started changing his players, they got more spirit and I didn’t expect them to come back in the last 15 minutes. We worked very hard and we are very happy to win because there will not be many countries coming here and winning."

“We have seven very young players. It is not easy for them but they learn a lot from this game. You can only learn by letting the young players play.

"It is always difficult because the results are very important. I’m happy that the young players had a good performance at the end of the game.”

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