ABU DHABI // Branko Ivankovic, the Al Wahda coach, said sorry to the home fans after a 2-1 defeat to Dubai sent the visiting side ahead of his club in the Pro League table.
Richard Porta gave Dubai a second-minute lead but Marcelo Oliveira cancelled it out two minutes later. Rami Yaslam then fired home the winner- set up by Porta - nine minutes from time last night at the Al Nahyan Stadium.
"I want to apologise to our fans," Ivankovic said. "We didn't play anywhere close to our potential. It was a very poor performance by any standard.
"We had a lot of players who didn't perform to their true abilities but this sometimes happens when we play with youngsters. They sometimes perform very high and then come out with a poor one in the next.
"But even some of the experienced players didn't perform well, which was really disappointing. I tried to change the game with a different strategy but it still didn't work."
Wahda were without the injured Emirati internationals Ismail Matar, the forward, and the defenders Hamdan Al Kamali as well as Mohammed Shaibah, the Oman defender, but Ivankovic said it was not the reason for a poor performance. "The absence of some key players is not an excuse," he said. "It was a below par performance from the entire team."
Rene Marsiglia, the Dubai coach, was understandably delighted and said the result was a massive boost for his team.
"This is just one good result but this will give the players the motivation they need to work even harder," the Frenchman said.
"We got the confidence after scoring an early goal. We created a few more chances than our opponents and to win three away points from Wahda is a very good result for us."
Marsiglia played with Porta as the lone striker and relied on counter attacks.
"That's the only way we could have hoped to win against a team like Wahda," he said.
"They have strong forwards so we tried to frustrate them by defending and used Porta's speed and his technical skills on the counter attack. It was a tactic that worked well for us on the night."
The Australian exchanged passes with Simon Pierre Feindouno to score his first goal.
Marcelo converted a cross from Salim Saleh for Wahda's equaliser and they could have taken the lead had Adel Basulaiman's effort not hit the near post in the 24th minute.
The winner for Dubai came when Porta worked his way down the right and played Yaslam through to make it 2-1.
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