Veteran Indian striker Sunil Chhetri was the dangerman against Thailand grabbing a brace in the 4-1 win.
While the result against Thailand, who have three J-League players in their ranks, was no mean feat, it will be a bigger achievement if the Indians are able to put it across the hosts who are gunning for the title.
Mabkhout sealed the points with a cool finish two minutes from the end - his 47th goal in 75 internationals - to give the scoreline a somewhat flattering complexion but left UAE top of Group A on four points.
"We have a very young side here and they are excited. [With] Jordan and Oman, the similarities with UAE are there, which is why we had those games", he said.
As far as the Indian team is concerned, Sunil Chhetri hogs the limelight wherever he goes, and the Blue Tigers will again look up to him upfront.
India captain Sunil Chhetri overtook Lionel Messi in worldwide goals as the Blue Tigers stunned Thailand 4-1 in their opening game to earn comparisons with Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli for his heroics back home.
Over reliance on the 34-year-old striker would not have seen them maul Thailand the way the did.
India and UAE have played each other 13 times over the history and UAE have won 8 of those games.
It is better still for the team that for all his achievements over the years, Chhetri remains grounded.
However, the surprise package was rookie forward Ashique Kuruniyan, Udanta Singh being the livewire down wide right. It was a soft goal to concede, killing the momentum India had created. The quick one-two between them opened up the UAE defence and released Udanta on goal. More of the could be expected against a superior opponent in UAE.
Thailand, sacked Serbian coach Milovan Rajevac after their humiliating loss to India, bounced back by beating Bahrain 1-0 in Dubai earlier on Thursday. It was the late goal by substitute Ahmed Khalil that saved them the blushes. Assisted by Ali Ahmed Mabkhout. He then passed the ball to Khalfan Mubarak who beat goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu from tight angle.
India and UAE last met in 2011 in a FIFA World Cup qualifying match and that match ended in a 2-2 draw. Nobody thought we were going to win a game. However, we are not trying to get carried away with the emotion.
A win for India will secure them a spot in the next round, which would be a historic moment for the side which doesn't have a great record in the Asian Cup, while a win for the hosts will also bring them closer to qualification.
"We will try to win the next two games and at least get points and hope we can squeeze in and qualify".