NEWCASTLE (AFP) – Australia have turned up the heat on the United Arab Emirates before Tuesday’s Asian Cup semi-final, warning the Gulf side that they would “choke them until they’re blue”.
The path to a first Asian Cup title has opened up invitingly for Australia after the UAE stunned holders Japan on penalties in the last eight, and defender Trent Sainsbury predicted that the hosts will overpower the Emirates.
“I don’t think the UAE has got the legs to go with us for 90 minutes,” Sainsbury told reporters on Sunday. “It’s just going to be quick ball movement, player movement.
“And as soon as we lose the ball, try and win it back — try and choke them until they’re blue. You have got to go for it in this game. You can’t hold back.”
Australia, beaten by Japan in the 2011 final, have had an extra day’s rest after their 2-0 win over China in the quarter-finals.
The UAE shocked the Blue Samurai in a draining encounter on Friday in one of the biggest upsets in Asian Cup history, but the Australians have already begun the mind games before their clash on the shore in Newcastle.
Sainsbury twisted the knife, questioning the work ethic of UAE star Omar Abdulrahman and promising to “get in his face”.
The shaggy-haired playmaker has been one of the players of the tournament so far, instrumental in the UAE’s victory over Japan, his cheeky dinked ‘panenka’ penalty underlining his outrageous talent.