UAE were kept on their toes for the entire 90 minutes by a buoyant Indian side who fought valiantly before going down 2-0 against the hosts in the second game of the AFC Asian Cup at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Thursday evening.
The win earned UAE manager Alberto Zaccheroni some breathing space after his side drew 1-1 against Bahrain in their Asian Cup opener. There was speculation earlier this week that the Italian's position was under threat.
Although his team managed to put two past Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, they were fortunate enough to survive numerous scares throughout the match and the woodwork came to their rescue on two occasions. A draw against Thailand in Al Ain on Monday would confirm their qualification, a win against the War Elephants would see them top Group A.
Zaccheroni was visibly happy after the crucial win and the Italian did not hide his emotions after the match.
"I am delighted to have been able to make the UAE fans happy with this win. I know they were disappointed after the first draw. I would like to thank all of those fans that came here tonight and supported us," said the 65-year old.
The former AC Milan manager did acknowledge that his team struggled against the pacey Indian side.
"We started well but with time we struggled with the pace of the Indian team. In the second half, we changed the way we play. We were tackling more, recovering the ball quicker and were more focused. We were clinical in front of goal and got the second goal. Congratulations for my team for the result and the performance.
"India have a bright future ahead of them," expressed Zaccheroni.
UAE will take the pitch again on Monday for the last group game against Thailand.