Alhammadi not surprised as UAE kick off FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in style
Moscow: A party atmosphere reigned at the Luzhniki Beach Soccer Arena in Moscow on Thursday as the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Russia 2021 began with a heady mix of music, colour and surprises. And perhaps the biggest surprise of all was served up by the United Arab Emirates in the tournament’s opening game, as a nation that has never reached the knockout stage in six previous attempts secured a 4-3 victory against two-time runners-up Tahiti.
"We're obviously happy and proud, but I'm not overly surprised by the result," UAE forward Hasan Alhammadi told FIFA.com afterwards. "Tahiti are obviously a good team, but we have nothing to be ashamed of in comparison. Our team has quality, and we'll try to prove that for as long as we can here at this World Cup."
A quick glance at the Beach Soccer Worldwide rankings suggests a UAE win was anything but predictable, despite Alhammadi's confidence. So too the scoreline of the last World Cup meeting between the sides, a 3-2 success for Tahiti at the 2013 edition. Indeed, their Moscow reunion looked to be heading for a similar conclusion when the Tiki Toa made the more purposeful start.
2021 AFC Champions League Group Stage – 5 of the Best: Volleys & Half-Volleys
Kuala Lumpur: The-AFC.com's '5 of the Best' spotlight on 2021 AFC Champions League Group Stage action this week highlights some special strikes from the matches in Jeddah, Goa, Pathum Thani and Bangkok.
After taking in some of the most mesmerising solo goals last week, we turn our attention to volleys and half-volleys to recall some of the fine strikes the 2021 AFC Champions League Group Stage witnessed.
Some of our selection have been caught on the bounce, while others have been struck without the ball touching the ground, but what cannot be argued is that all five are worthy of enjoying again and again.
Son Heung-min, Kyogo Furuhashi and more – Vote for your AFC International Player of the Week
Kuala Lumpur: A new European football season is up and running, and some of Asia’s big names are already at the forefront after a series of outstanding performances.
Stars from Japan, Korea Republic, Islamic Republic of Iran and Australia are all featured in the first edition of the new season of our weekly look at Asia’s best performers outside the continent, with our 10 nominees combining for nine goals between them.
Study our list of contenders – based on matches from August 11 to 17 – and don’t forget to cast your vote.
Preview - Group D: ATK Mohun Bagan, Bashundhara Kings eye top spot; Bengaluru FC, Maziya Sports R&C seek to keep AFC Cup hopes alive
Male: Group D of the 2021 AFC Cup is set for a pair of intriguing ties that could set up a grandstand finish when the Matchday Two action kicks off on Saturday.
Bangladesh's Bashundhara Kings take on JSW Bengaluru FC of India with the 2016 runners-up knowing defeat would see them eliminated, while Maldivian hosts Maziya Sports R&C face a similar prospect when they face India's ATK Mohun Bagan in the day's late game.
Bashundhara Kings' Bruzón wary of Bengaluru ahead of AFC Cup showdown
Male: Bangladesh’s Bashundhara Kings will be aiming to make it two wins in a row when they take on JSW Bengaluru FC of India in Group D of the 2021 AFC Cup at the National Football Stadium on Saturday.
Bashundhara got off to a positive start after opening their campaign with a 2-0 victory over Maldives’ Maziya Sports R&C while Bengaluru suffered defeat with a similar scoreline against Indian rivals ATK Mohun Bagan on Wednesday.
Victory for Bashundhara will take them a step closer to reaching the knockout stage while Bengaluru must win to stay in contention.