UAE lose to Iran 0-1 in Asian Cup

UAE still qualified for the quarter-finals but as group runners-up

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The United Arab Emirates coach Mahdi Ali was in no mood for diplomacy after his team’s 1-0 loss to Iran at the Asian Cup on Monday.

Beaten by a goal in stoppage time, Ali let fly at the officials, saying the goal should never been allowed and questioning the appointment of Japanese referee Ryuji Sato.

Ali said Iranian substitute Reza Ghoochannejhad, who scored the last-gasp winner, was offside and the match should have ended a draw, which would have allowed UAE to win the group.

UAE still qualified for the quarter-finals but as group runners-up, they face a trickier route to the final, possibly facing holders Japan next.

Ali questioned why a Japanese referee was allowed to officiate at the match, and was unhappy that he booked UAE defender Walid Abbas, ruling him out of the quarter-final because it was his second yellow card of the tournament.

“I’m just surprised how the game was given to a Japanese referee and maybe we play against Japan,” Ali said.

“He gave a yellow card to a player that will be suspended for the next game. It’s very strange.

“I think this question has to be transferred to the AFC to comment on this,” Ali said.

Criticism of referees almost always incurs a hefty fine and Ali is likely to be hit in the pocket over his comments.

The Iranian coach Carlos Quieroz was slapped with a $3,000 for questioning the referees earlier in the tournament. When asked whether he supported Ali’s complaints, he replied: “I have no comment about that. I don’t want to make anymore donations,” he said. “The game was very competitive. As I said, no more donations.”