Paulo Bento has won his first match in charge of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The UAE defeated Costa Rica 4-1 in a friendly on Wednesday morning at Stadion Maksimir in Zagreb, Croatia. The victory was the first for the UAE since Bento’s appointment, marking a positive start to the Bento era.
The UAE used a 4-2-3-1 formation. Kaiou, Al Ghassani, Saleh, Zirima, Nair, Salmin, Idris, Al Hashemi, Al Hammadi, Ibrahim, and Eisa started the match.
Costa Rica lined up in a 4-4-2 formation. Campbell, Ugalde, Lil, Bran, Murillo, Marin, Matarrita, Calvo, Cascante, Valverde, and Navas were in the starting lineup.
Costa Rica was favored to win the match. The UAE’s FIFA ranking is 72nd, while Costa Rica’s is 46th. In addition, the UAE had just hired a new coach. Bento took the UAE job after taking a break from coaching the South Korean national team after the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. There was some speculation that he could head to Poland, but he chose the UAE.
With Ventura at the helm, the UAE upset the odds early in the first half. Al Ghassani opened the scoring in the 16th minute after receiving a pass from Zi Lima and beating the Costa Rican defense with a low right-footed shot. Costa Rica’s goalkeeper Navas got a hand to it, but couldn’t keep it out.
A second goal soon followed. In the 23rd minute, Al Ghassani exchanged passes with a teammate before sending a long pass that Saleh flicked on to Caiú in the box. With the goalkeeper out of the way, Kaiou was able to convert with ease.
With momentum in their favor, the UAE scored their third goal in the first half alone. In the 37th minute, Salmin’s unstoppable mid-range effort from distance found the back of the net. The first half ended with the UAE leading 3-0.
The UAE drove a wedge in the second half. Eight minutes into the second half, Al Ghassani played a pass into the box to Nader, who crossed straight to Al Ghassani. Al Ghassani finished the attack with a right-footed shot for his team’s fourth goal. Despite a late Costa Rican goal, the match ended with a 4-1 victory for the UAE. It was a big win for Bento in his first game in charge of the UAE national team.
“The UAE has some important tournaments coming up,” said Bento when he took over. The World Cup in North and Central America in 2026 and the Asian Cup in Qatar next January are also important. We need to fulfill our ambitions in these competitions. We have information about the UAE national team as well as plans for the future. We will try to identify the players correctly and the selection criteria will be performance and attitude.”
The game was bittersweet for South Korean fans, who had been with Bento for four years and witnessed the team’s success in the round of 16 at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. South Korea decided not to continue working with Bento after the World Cup in Qatar and appointed Jürgen Klinsmann as his successor.
Klinsmann’s arrival was met with much concern, and he didn’t win a game in five matches. Starting with his first match against Colombia, all five games ended in a draw or loss. In his most recent game, against Wales, he was criticized for a lackluster performance, and the controversy surrounding his departure added to the negative perception of Klinsmann.
Comparisons to his predecessor, Bento, have also been made. From the beginning of his tenure, Bento had a clear concept in mind. Regardless of the outcome of the game, it was clear what style of soccer he wanted to play.
Eventually, Klinsmann got his first goal in the sixth game. The Klinsmanns won against Roberto Mancini’s Saudi Arabia thanks to a goal from Cho Kyu-sung. However, there are still voices of disappointment as the scoring process was not clean and there was no evidence of improvement in the performance itself.
Meanwhile, there is a possibility that Bento could face South Korea as an opponent. The UAE will also be competing in the Asian Cup next year. Depending on the draw, Bento could be facing the country he coached for four years.
In the end, Klinsmann’s side got their first win in the sixth game. The Klinsmanns beat Roberto Mancini’s Saudi Arabia thanks to a goal from Cho Kyu-sung. However, there is still a lot to be said for the cleanliness of the goal, as well as the lack of improvement in their performance. 메이저놀이터