Qantas Joeys fall to UAE

The Qantas Joeys had to settle for second best last night in Saudi Arabia, going down 2-1 to UAE.

The Qantas Joeys had to settle for second best last night in Saudi Arabia, going down 2-1 to UAE.

In what ended more like a battlefield than a football pitch with Conor O'Neill left with a broken wrist and captain Jack Iredale with concerns of vision from one eye following a nasty collision.

O'Neill was first to succumb to the conditions following an early burst down the side which got him in behind his defender, driving toward the bi-line for a cutback before being tackled causing the player to fall on his arm, breaking his wrist.

UAE found the net first in the 33 minute following a cross from the left which evaded Hyuga Tanner and fell straight to the feet of the UAE striker who made no mistake in his strike to take the lead.

New Southampton academy player George Mells replaced Matthew Ntoumenopoulos in the 50th minute and after just 5 minutes on the pitch was pivotal to Australia's attack receiving the ball in the middle of the park before playing a ball into Lukas Stergiou who got between the defensive and midfield line of UAE.

Stergiou played a precise through ball to Taylor Tombides who was bought down by the UAE keeper inside the box. Jack Iredale made no mistake in slotting home the resulting penalty to level the scores.

Deep into injury time and Australia found themselves on the backfoot when UAE took a quick free kick in the Australian defensive half.

A one-two combination between the midfielder and the striker had the UAE attacker on goal with his shot finding the back of the net giving the UAE team the win.

"To ensure we are developing the whole squad in preparation for the Iran AFC Championship we made nine changes to the team that started against Saudi Arabia," said Qantas Joeys head coach Alistair Edwards.

"The boys continued to play some fluent football against a surprisingly direct UAE side.

"We had UAE on the back foot for most of the game creating a number of chances and although disappointed to concede a deflected goal with 10 seconds to go we were very pleased with the performance which in many ways showed improvements from the first game.

"These type of quality games are exactly what we need, we have one more game against China and without doubt the players will leave this friendly tournament with crucial learning experiences. "The most important aspect from the 2 games so far has been that 21 players have now gained crucial international experience against quality opposition."

The Qantas Joeys play China in their final match on August 7.