London 2012: Sinclair and Sturridge secure Team GB success at Wembley
22:05 29 July 2012
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Olympic football: Great Britain 3-1 UAE
Substitutes Scott Sinclair and Daniel Sturridge both scored to give GB’s men their first victory of the tournament against United Arab Emirates at Wembley Stadium.
Stuart Pearce’s men squandered the lead for the second time in three days after Rashed Eisa cancelled out a header from home captain Ryan Giggs.
But Sinclair restored GB’s lead with 17 minutes remaining and Sturridge added a third soon afterwards to ensure that the hosts go into their final group match against Uruguay on Wednesday needing a draw to book their quarter-final spot.
UAE gave the home side some awkward moments early on, exploiting space on the left, and Eisa’s effort was blocked by the head of Micah Richards.
But Giggs broke the deadlock on 16 minutes, arriving at the far post to head Craig Bellamy’s pinpoint cross past Ali Khaseif.
The Gulf side almost hit back as Ahmed Khalil held off Richards and dragged his finish across goal, while Khamis Esmaeel’s 25-yarder whizzed just over.
GB ended the first half on top, though, with Khaseif foiling both Bellamy and Marvin Sordell after his defence had been opened up.
But the UAE keeper could only look on helplessly as the unlucky Tom Cleverley fired a left-foot shot that hit both posts and bounced to safety.
Sturridge, who took Sordell’s place at the break, added more bite to the GB front line, and forced two good stops from Khaseif.
Yet the home side were rocked on the hour mark as Omar Abdulrahman threaded a superb pass for Eisa, who stole between James Tomkins and Steven Caulker to slot home.
And UAE might easily have taken the lead soon afterwards when Khalil sped onto a return pass from Eisa, only to be denied by the legs of Jack Butland.
But Sinclair - who had replaced Giggs just a minute earlier - made an immediate impact as he tapped in Bellamy’s cross from close range.
Sturridge then gave GB some breathing space three minutes later, galloping onto Cleverley’s through ball and chipping neatly over Khaseif to make it 3-1.
Earlier at the same venue, 10-man Senegal took a big step towards the quarter-finals as they beat Uruguay 2-0 with a double from Moussa Konate.