UAE romped to a 3-0 win over Laos to get back to winning ways after suffering a 2-0 loss against Trinidad and Tobago.
Under-fire manager Alberto Zachheroni would be a relieved man as his team got back to winning ways ending a five-match winless streak. This win will buy the 65-year-old some more time to prove his credentials ahead of next year's AFC Asian Cup on home soil.
The former AC Milan manager started with a 4-2-3-1 formation at Catalonia’s Estadi Palamos Costa Bravo, shifting from his usual 3-4-3.
The abysmal difference in quality between the two teams was evident from the first whistle as UAE were raiding the opposition defence with aplomb. Omar Abdulrahman and Ali Mabkhout were livewires for the Gulf nation as both registered their name on the scoresheet. Mabkhout found the net twice in the opening 30 minutes while Abdulrahman scored a screamer from long range with 20 minutes to go to put the match to bed.
Ismail Al Hammadi should have drawn first blood when he was put through on goal by Rayan Yaslam. Hammadi timed his run to perfection to beat the offside trap but shot straight at Laos’ goalkeeper while the rebound was cleared to safety.
In the 24th minute, the deadlock was finally broken when Mabkhout found the bottom corner after playing a quick give-and-go with Omar. Two minutes later, the Al Jazira striker completed his brace when his effort from outside the box bulged the net leaving the goalkeeper wrong-footed.
The third goal by Abdulrahman was a sensational long-range effort when he found the top corner from 25 yards out.
This was the first time since UAE have scored thrice within regulation time since Zaccheroni took over last October. Under the tutelage of the Italian they have now won four, drawn three and lost five.