LINUS LINDAHL / AIPS IN ABU DHABI: The United Arab Emirates’ opening party at the Mohamed Bin Zayed Stadium on October 17 was spoiled by a red card and a 2-1 defeat to Honduras in the FIFA U-17 World Cup’s group A.

Midfielder Alshamsi Sultan was sent off by Italian referee Gianluca Rocchi in the 26th minute, nine minutes after the hosts had fallen one goal behind.

Later coach Rashed Albedwawi complained: “That mistake did not deserve a red card. Maximum would be a yellow one.”

Honduras took the lead against the hosts through Fredi Medina then Sultan Alshamsi was shown a straight red card in 26th minute after a powerful sliding tackle on Kevin Alvarez. The UAE equalised through Khaled Khalfan, despite having only ten men. However they could not hold out and Brayan Velasquez scored Honduras’ late winner.

Rashed Albedwawi added: “The players are under 17. The main reason for two missed chances we had [early in the game] and the red card was that the players were stressed and Honduras are a good team.”

At the final whistle the home players sat down, staring ahead in disappointment. In front of them the Hondurans celebrated.

Now the hosts face one of the main favourites for the title in Brazil. Albedwawi said: “In the next three days we will try our best to recover physically and psychologically so we can continue and do well against Brazil and Slovakia.”

The win was Honduras first in the U-17 World Cup after six defeats in two previous appearances. Coach Jose Valladares said: “It is a fact that the red card was a benefit for us. That obviously helped our team.”


*, the international sports journalists association, is running a Young Reporters course in UAE with the support of the local organising committee and FIFA

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