DUBAI – Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal, champions of 2016, started their campaign in the 9th Dubai International Football Championship U16 with a stunning 3-2 win over Borussia Dortmund, the team they had defeated in the final of the sixth edition.
In the second match of the opening day, Shabab Al Ahli won the battle of Dubai clubs against Al Wasl by three goals to nil.
Going into injury time, Al Hilal were trailing 1-2 despite taking an early 12th minute through their captain Mohammed Ali Barnawi. Dominik Wasilewski equalised for the Germans in the 35th minute and Leart Tahiri put them ahead in the 59th, but the tide turned in the third minute of added time when Mohammed Al Dosari stuck the equaliser. Seconds later, the Al Hilal bench erupted with joy when substitute Abdullah Ridif put the ball into the back of the net for an unlikely winner.
“This is a great way to start your campaign,” said Carlos Inarejos Hernandez, the Al Hilal head coach. “I am really pleased with my players’ attitude and the way they fought until the end to change the result of the match for us.
“This shows that we are here not just for the experience, but to fight for the title. We have a good team and I am sure, with a bit of luck, we can go all the way. We have started well and we need to show the same spirit in your remaining matches.”
In the other match, it was smooth sailing for Shabab Al Ahli with Harib Abdulla, Hamdan Hasan and substitute Ebrahim Al Hammadi getting the goals.
“We are really happy with the result, but we need to put this behind us and focus on the next match,” said Khalid Mohammed, the Shabab Al Ahli coach. “We are playing Al Hilal next and they will be in really high spirits after their stunning over Borussia Dortmund. In our last group match, we play Dortmund.
“So every match in this tournament is like a final for us and we have to win two finals to reach the semis, and then try to win two more. We are determined to become the first UAE team to win this tournament.”