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UAE coach Mahdi Ali announces resignation after Australia defeat

8:52 PM GMT+8 28/03/2017
Mahdi Ali Australia 2-0 UAE Asian Cup 270115
After a disappointing performance against the Soccerroos on Tuesday, the UAE coach has left his post....

Mahdi Ali has been under pressure in his post as UAE national team coach and following the team's defeat in their World Cup qualifying game against Australia on Tuesday, he announced his resignation.

UAE succumbed to a 2-0 defeat in Sydney as goals from Jackson Irvine and Mathew Leckie handed Australia a crucial victory which kept them in touch with the top two spots in Group B and an automatic berth at Russia 2018.

Meanwhile, it spelled disaster for the visitors whose chances of qualifying continued to fade.

Ali came under increasing fire during a campaign which appears doomed after four defeats in seven games.

"For me, I have spent around 13 years with the national team, and five years with the first team," he said. "We have had so many achievements with the team, we have worked very hard and I think this is the time for me to leave."

Ali helped UAE qualify for the Olympics for the first time, at London 2012 and then guided them to the Gulf Cup of Nations triumph in the following year. A semi-final berth in the 2015 Asian Cup followed.    

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"I tried my best, I did not complain, but now is the time for me to leave," he said. "Actually I resigned before the Iraq game, but the federation insisted I continue. I stayed. We won the Iraq game and we had a better chance.

"I think, after five years, I did my best. We have had so many achievements, winning the Gulf Cup and qualifying to the third round of the World Cup [qualifiers].

The 51-year-old claims that he has taken the team as far as he can, given the circumstances.

"Given the conditions we have, I don’t think we can achieve better than that.

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"It is a very bad moment for me. I wish I could leave the national team in a better condition. But this is life. We have to accept it.

"I apologise to all the UAE fans, the leaders, the players, the staff, I thank them all. This is the time for me to leave."