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Dushanbe: A last minute goal from Salha Sanad Rashid saw the United Arab Emirates beat Tajikistan 1-0 on Wednesday as the two sides ended their AFC Women’s Asian Cup Jordan 2018 Group A qualifying campaigns with an evenly contested affair.

Despite the The Emiratis recording their second win of the qualifiers, the West Asians finished fourth in the group - behind third-placed Bahrain who beat Iraq 4-0 later in the day - while Tajikistan remained rooted in fifth after securing just the one victory.

Both teams enjoyed decent amounts of possession throughout a closely-fought first period, although it was Tajikistan who squandered the half’s best opportunity when Shukronai Jumakhon showed great skill to beat three UAE players before failing to find the net.

Jumakhon, captain Natalia Sotnikova and livewire forward Safarova Zulaikho all threatened after the break, although the UAE were not without chances of their own, Shahad Jassem breaking through the Tajik defence only to see her effort superbly saved by Tajik goalkeeper Sakhina Saidova.

Defender Salha Sanad’s free-kick from distance then briefly threated their opponents goal, before yet another of her set-pieces flew past a helpless Saidova in the game’s final moments to hand the UAE a narrow win.

United Arab Emirates head coach Samir Landolsi:
“I knew in advance that the match would be difficult as it was the fifth match in a row in just a few days. We didn’t play well, they were tired and I didn’t really recognise my players on the pitch, especially physically. We prepared ourselves and expected difficulties but my players were not at their best. Perhaps a 0-0 result would’ve been fairer, more logical, but we had the luck and we won, that’s football.”

Tajikistan head coach Bobokalonov Sulaymon:
“This is football. We had three clear changes of scoring but we missed them. If you cannot convert your chances you cannot win, and if you cannot score, the opponent will. This tournament has helped us learn and gain experience. Overall, the girls’ performance was satisfactory and this was their first-ever international tournament. This has been a good lesson for us and we will now prepare for more international tournaments.”

Photo: Tajikistan Football Federation