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UAE's Van Marwijk calls for further improvement after important Asian Qualifiers result against Thailand


Dubai: UAE head coach Bert van Marwijk wants more from his players despite a convincing 3-1 victory over Thailand in Group G of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 on Monday.

Two first-half goals from Caio Canedo and Fabio Lima looked to have settled matters for the UAE, but Suphanat Mueanta halved the deficit 10 minutes after the restart to set up a nervy remainder of the match. The Whites finally secured their win deep into added time with substitute Mohammad Jumaa coming off the bench to bag his country’s third.

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“It was a tough match against an opponent who had studied us very well,” said van Marwijk.

“They pressed us across the pitch, but we were able to score. At times I was not satisfied with my team; there are parts of our game that we need to improve upon, but we did what was required and got the victory against a resilient team."

The UAE’s chase of group leaders Vietnam continues in four days’ time as they face fifth-placed Indonesia before a top-of-the-table clash with Vietnam on the final matchday.

“We could have scored five or six goals, but the result we got is very good. We are now already thinking about the next game against Indonesia on Friday. Our objective is to win every game.”

A fourth winless game for Thailand means the War Elephants cannot mathematically finish top of the group, and Jumaa’s late goal for the UAE left them trailing the group hosts on head-to-head, meaning coach Akira Nishino’s men are officially out of the FIFA World Cup race ahead of their final game.

"In the first half, we didn't create many good scoring positions,” said Nishino.

“Things changed in the second half for the better. In all cases, I want to thank the players and assistants who worked so hard during the game.”

Thailand end their campaign in a week’s time when they face Malaysia at Al Maktoum Stadium.

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