ABU DHABI // Karel Jarolim, the Al Wahda coach, was "pleased" at his first game in charge, although his side was denied a win through a last-minute equalizer from Nasser Rakan of Al Kuwait.
Mahmoud Khamis had given Jarolim's side a 17th-minute lead from a free kick, and when it looked like they had done enough, the Kuwait club substitute struck from close range for a 1-1 result in the opening match of the four-team friendly Al Wahda International Cup at the Al Nahyan Stadium on Saturday.
"The results really don't matter in these friendly games, but I am quite satisfied with the team's performance, because it was the first game and played in very harsh weather conditions," said the Czech, 56. "This is the first phase of preparing the squad for the season ahead and the competition provides me the opportunity to have a look at all the players and gradually get them to fit into the roles in the team."
Jarolim tried out most of the fringe players in the absence of some of his key players, including Ismail Matar, the captain; Hamdan Al Kamali, Toufeeq Abdulrazaq, Salem Saleh, Khalid Jalal, and the Argentine Sebastian Tagliabue, all of them still not fully fit after returning from injuries.
The club's new foreign recruits, Damian Diaz, the attacking Argentine midfielder; and Marco Estrada, the Chile international, were given their first games.
Khamis, the diminutive Wahda winger, said it was an energy-sapping first match, but was pleased with the team's performance and the outcome.
"It was very humid, and under these conditions, it was very hard to play at the same level for 90 minutes, but I enjoyed my first game," he said.
Wahda play Al Shabab on Tuesday. Shabab lost 1-0 to their Saudi rivals Al Fateh.
Wahda will travel to Austria after the Eid break.
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