UAE coach rues wasteful finishing
© AFP

United Arab Emirates coach Srecko Katanec has rued his strikers' lack of sharpness after they wasted a host of chances in a goalless draw with Korea DPR in their AFC Asian Cup curtain-raiser.

"I'm satisfied with the way we played," said the Slovenian, who assumed the UAE reins in mid-2009. "The players showed character, nice skills. Unfortunately, we created a lot of chances but didn't score. This is the problem.

"The problem in this area has been there for a long time. Our strikers in the league, they don't play. They don't care too much about practice. But I can't change it here a lot."

We created a lot of chances but didn't score. The problem in this area has been there for a long time. Our strikers in the league, they don't play. They don't care too much about practice.
Srecko Katanec, United Arab Emirates coach

Korea DPR, who bowed out of their first FIFA World Cup™ in 44 years without a point last June, squandered an early chance when captain Hong Yong-Jo fired a penalty against the bar.

Then the UAE, led by forwards Ismaeil Matar and Ahmad Khalil, ruthlessly attacked their disorganised opponents and registered 23 shots, five of them on target, against six for the East Asians.

"After the penalty, I think we took the game to them and bossed it on the field," said the 47-year-old, who led Slovenia to UEFA EURO 2000 and the Korea/Japan 2002.

Katanec still believes in his side's potential as the AFC Asian Cup 1996 runners-up face defending champions Iraq, who lost 2-1 to Iran in their opener, on Saturday. "I'll be satisfied if we play this way again," he said.