Bengaluru/Abu Dhabi, January 4: As hosts UAE take on Bahrain in the AFC Asian Cup 2019 lung opener at the Zayed Sports City Stadium on Saturday (January 5), they will be eyeing nothing less than a win.
The match starts at 8pm local time (9.30pm IST), just after the opening ceremony.
UAE are determined to win the AFC Asian Cup on home soil, having fallen in the final when they hosted the 1996 edition.
Their form going into the Finals, however, has been erratic and head coach Alberto Zaccheroni has to get his squad firing despite the absence of the talismanic Omar Abdulrahman, who has been ruled out by injury.
Zaccheroni, however, knows what it takes to win the AFC Asian Cup, having led Japan to success in the 2011 edition held in Qatar and UAE, who are ranked 79th will be counting on his touch to do the same.
The hosts should consider themselves favourites from the group also featuring Thailand and India.
Meanwhile, Bahrain, will also be aiming to kick off their campaign with an opening win over hosts, if achieved, will boost their hopes of seeing action in the knockout stage. Miroslav Soukup's side, whose FIFA ranking is 113, will be confident they can match Thailand and India.
UAE vs Bahrain
Zayed Sports City Stadium, Abu Dhabi
8pm local time (9.30pm IST)
Live: Star Sports Network
Live streaming: Hotstar