DUBAI // Any other result would have probably been harsh.
Both coaches readily accepted that.
Traditional foes, Al Nasr and Al Wasl, had played their hearts out from the opening whistle to the final one on Saturday night, matching each other step for step and producing two exquisite goals apiece. There was not a dull moment and after such an entertaining exhibit, neither team deserved to lose.
"It was a good match for both teams, worthy of a derby," said Bruno Metsu, the Al Wasl coach. "It was a fair result. We are neither happy nor sad.
"We were very dangerous in our attack, played a great attacking game and created plenty of chances. We scored two nice goals and we could have scored more. But let's not forget Nasr had a great chance in the closing minutes as well. If they had scored, it would have killed the game."
"All the players, on both sides, played really well," said Walter Zenga, the Al Nasr coach. "Both teams had equal chances, but I am little disappointed with the chance we missed in the final minutes.
"If we had scored, we could have won the game and with that, we could have gone to the top of the league table as well. We always play to win and that's our mentality. We play for the emblem we have on our shirts."
Before kick off, Zenga and Metsu had a long, warm chat, arms wrapped around each other. On the eve of the game, the Italian goalkeeping great had expressed his admiration for the coaching abilities of the Frenchman.
Pleasantries exchanged, the two legends walked swiftly to their seats in the dugout, ready for the emotional roller-coaster that most derbies usually are.
And, with 8,200 in the stands, the match went to script. Zenga sank back into his chair, looking glum, while Metsu was on his feet as Alfaro opened the scores in the ninth minute.
The Uruguayan international, who has already five goals in two matches for Wasl, got his name on the scoresheet yet again with a crisp finish.
Taking the ball midway in Nasr's half, he sprinted past Mahmoud Hassan with a sudden burst, wrong-footed another defender and then slotted wide off keeper Abdullah Moosa.
Hassan, of course, was not very happy about the goal and a few minutes later, he had an angry stand-off with Alfaro, with the Wasl man claiming he was stamped upon.
Tempers flared elsewhere as well. Essa Ali, the Wasl captain, and Nasr's Brazilian striker Bruno Correa exchanged a few words on the other side of the pitch.
A couple of reckless tackles by Nasr's Leonardo Lima and Masoud Hassan added to the drama, but the likes of Giussepe Mascara and Lucas Neill intervened to calm things down.
Nashat Akram kept away from the squabbles, but he was never far away from the action though and the Iraqi headed in the equaliser for the home side in the 27th minute.
Wasl, however, were back in the lead in the 49th minute and once again, it was Alfaro who found the net. The real credit for the goal belonged to Shikabala.
The Egyptian took on two Wasl defenders and beguiled them with his magical footwork before flicking the ball for his sharpshooter.
There were no such tricks in Nasr's 60th minute equaliser though.
Lima blasted the ball in from a free kick.
The Wasl keeper Ahmed Mahmoud parried it away and Habib Fardan blasted home the rebound.
Al Nasr 2 Al Wahda 2
Al Nasr Akram 27’, Fardan 60’
Al Wasl Alfaro 9’, 49’
Man of the match
Emiliano Alfaro (Al Wasl)
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