Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Rashed Essa (in yellow) fights for the ball with Joher Musabeh Obaid from Kalba at Zabeel Stadium.
Rashed Essa (in yellow) fights for the ball with Joher Musabeh Obaid from Kalba at Zabeel Stadium.

Al Wasl 3 Kalba 1

Lacombe's side, though, scrambled to a scrappy triumph, Rashid Essa striking either side of an Ahmed Jahouh penalty before Emiliano Alfaro notched a third in stoppage time.

DUBAI // Comedy reigned for the majority last night at the Zabeel Stadium and, out of keeping with Al Wasl's recent performances, it had nothing to do with the footballing fare.

The rain that battered Dubai for much of yesterday seemed to have collected solely on this saturated pitch, with the home side and Kalba struggling to temper their relatively stormy seasons.

Football boots could have made way for flippers and scuba gear - the match even halted for 20 minutes in the first half when maintenance men and brushes were deployed to sweep puddles from areas particularly inflicted.

At first, the players rejoiced in alien conditions.

Defenders could blame the sodden turf on a propensity to hoof the ball any time it ventured near goal; midfielders partook in various forms of aquaplaning, often leaving the ball, or intended target, behind as they skidded across the surface; attackers, typically in little need of an excuse to tumble in the penalty area, tried to make the most of slippery surroundings.

Passes routinely got held up on the waterlogged pitch. In more ways than one, the match should have been deemed a washout.

Wasl, without a victory in five Pro League games before the visit of the table's bottom club, are unrecognisable to the team that began the campaign with vigour and verve, their dependence on Mariano Donda, the absent Argentine playmaker, becoming more apparent by the week.

Donda returned to the substitute's bench last night, but presumably given the conditions underfoot, was spared a cameo appearance.

His side, though, scrambled to a scrappy triumph, Rashid Essa striking either side of an Ahmed Jahouh penalty before Emiliano Alfaro notched a third in stoppage time.

Both Essa's goals contained a hefty element of luck, the first a free-kick deflected past Mohammed Salim, the Kalba goalkeeper, by one of his own defenders. The second took another slight touch from a Kalba defender on its way towards goal, although it was an apparent handball from Alfaro in the build-up that would have irritated the visitors.

Kalba had only just drawn level with their seventh goal of the season, Jahouh sending Rashid Ali, the home goalkeeper, the wrong way from the spot after he was adjudged to have fouled Amir Mohammed at the byline.

The final whistle was greeted with embraces in the Wasl dugout as Guy Lacombe celebrated his first league win since taking charge last month in testing circumstances. The Frenchman will hope much more is to come from his side; that the floodgates have been opened.

jmcauley@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 UAE rugby player Adam Telford, right, catches the ball during a Test match against Singapore at The Sevens ground in Dubai on Wednesday. UAE lost the Asian 5 Nations match 30-13 to be relegated to the third tier of Asian rugby. Sarah Dea / The National / April 23, 2014

In pictures: UAE rugby in action against Singapore

Images from the Asian Five Nations Test for UAE rugby against Singapore on Wednesday night at The Sevens ground in Dubai.

 Ravindra Jadeja of Chennai Super Kings playing a shot in their Indian Premier League win over Rajasthan Royals at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday. Jadeja scored 36 runs not out from 33 balls. Pawan Singh / The National / April 23, 2014

In pictures: Chennai Super Kings notch win behind do-everything Jadeja

Images from Wednesday night's Indian Premier League match in Dubai, where Ravindra Jadeja led Chennai Super Kings over Rajasthan Royals.

 Karim Benzema of Real Madrid celebrates scoring the opening goal in the Champions League semi-final first leg match against Bayern Munich at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday in Madrid, Spain. Martin Rose / Bongarts / Getty Images / April 23, 2014

In pictures: Benzema propels Real Madrid over Bayern Munich

Images from Real Madrid's 1-0 win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-final first leg match at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night.

 Chris Gayle has been the most feared batsman in the Royal Challengers Bangalore line-up since he joined the team in 2011. Indranil Mukherjee / AFP

Parthiv continues to fill Gayle’s big shoes for Bangalore

Indian wicketkeeper-batsman will continue to open the innings for Royal Challengers with the West Indian still nursing his bad back, writes Paul Radley.

 Dana Shamlawi pulls a 4x4 car during the final day of the UAE Strongman Competition in Dubai. Delores Johnson / The National

UAE Strongman Competition takes weight training to a whole new scale

Two-day competition in Dubai attracts men and women from across the Emirates and proves it takes more than just bulky muscles to win, writes Ali Khaled.

 UAE’s Charlie Sargent tries to avoid a tackle by Singapore team members during the one-off Division 1 Test at The Sevens. The Singapore-born winger was making his debut. Sarah Dea / The National

Asian Five Nations: UAE go into rebuilding mode in Division 2

With a new look squad, including five emerging Emirati players, the UAE will hope to restructure and get into the winning habit in more forgiving climes when they drop a level in the revamped competition next season.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National