The 2019 Asian Cup started dramatically as a last gasp Ahmed Khalil penalty ensured the UAE a share of the spoils as they drew 1-1 with Bahrain in their Group A opener today.
With time running out, Khalil impressively converted from 12 yards for the 1996 AFC Asian Cup runners-up after Mohamed Al Rohaimi had given the guests the lead just 10 minutes earlier.
The draw, played out in front of 33,000 spectators at Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City Stadium, sees the regional rivals tied at the top of the Group A standings ahead of Sunday’s match between fellow group hopefuls India and Thailand.
After a cautious opening, it was to be the UAE who threatened first.
The hosts could have been ahead early on had Ismail Al Hamadi kept his cool when one-on-one with Sayed Shubbar Alawi, while Komail Alaswad went close with a dipping free-kick at the other end.